MANILA - The rehabilitation of conflict-ravaged Marawi City is not just about rebuilding structures destroyed during the 5-month siege.
Most important is looking for ways to make violent extremism irrelevant amid the rebuilding efforts, said sociologist Jayeel Cornelio, a development studies professor at the Ateneo De Manila University.
"When we rebuild Marawi, ang pinakamahalaga para sa akin is how to make violent extremism irrelevant," he told DZMM radio, noting that discussions about Marawi rehabilitation are usually about rebuilding structures.
Cornelio said violent extremism, as seen in the siege led by the Islamic State-linked Maute terror group, will not go away until the root of Marawi folk's problems is addressed.
This is why the professor said it is important for authorities to hear what Marawi residents and religious leaders have to say about the rebuilding efforts, or else these may "backfire."
"Ang nakakalimutan yata nila sa conversation ay marami dito sa mga tao, apektado ang kanilang human dignity at sentro dito ang kanilang paniniwala," Cornelio said.
Government is gearing up for the task of building back Marawi City after the end of hostilities earlier this week. The conflict left much of the former commercial center in ruins and displaced more than 200,000 residents. At least 1,100 were killed, most of them terrorists.
Temporary shelters for displaced families will be ready by December, the government promised, as authorities continued to clear the city of stray explosives.
Government has allotted P5 billion for the city's rehabilitation this year, while another P10 billion is set to be released next year. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier said rebuilding the city may need up to P50 billion.
Earlier, the Office of the Civil Defense said rebuilding Marawi City may take 2 to 3 years.