A Development Worker’s Thoughts on Marawi

December 21, 2017 // Leave a Comment

The furious war in Marawi has turned into a national adversity. After a month of the government’s all-out war against the Maute Group/ISIS, we are nowhere near the resolution of the armed conflict in Marawi. The capture of some Maute members and even the so called controlled areas cannot guarantee an end to the fighting.

Evidently, a more comprehensive solution, not a simplistic military approach, is required.

A series of air strikes has hit the city’s town areas almost every day, creating further devastations and instilling distress on the whole people in Marawi.

In just a few months of full military engagement, hundreds lay dead and wounded- both government armed combatants, terrorist groups and civilians, including women and children. Some 200,000 thousands families have been driven from their homes to makeshift evacuation centers lacking bare necessities of decent existence.

For in the haste to smash the Maute and attacked it into surrender, in the morbid count for fatalities, the desires of Muslims and Christians for genuine peace and justice in Mindanao have been set aside.

The military offensive offers no solution to Marawi’s problem. Unless the root causes of the armed conflict are addressed, there can be no peace. Any claim of victory shall be resonating, fleeting and at worse a stimulating for more war.

The economy of Marawi has been immeasurable damaged that the city cannot anymore endure. The draining on the LGUs treasury and insufficient resources implies a kind of internal bleeding that we can ill-afford should the war continue.

Clearly, these developments could further ruin the economy and the peace and order situation, not only in Mindanao, but in Visayas and Luzon as well.

Beyond the economic devastation will be the vast moral and cultural disarray should a full-blown religious conflict arise.

By now, religious and ethnic conflicts are being puffed and provoked. Extreme vigilante and paramilitary groups known to be notorious for their cruelty and brutality are being reactivated and may again get out of control. Fear and uncertainty have broken my resiliency and will.  For the first time in my whole life as a development worker I shivered at the thought of becoming a hostage. It was the talk of the town or the trending stories in social media that many non-Moros were already in captivity by this terrorist group.

But my lady boss was able to manage us out of Marawi in a state of war. I give my salute to her, she is one of the strongest woman I’ve ever known in the social development world.

Sadly, the continued military actions leave little room for peace negotiations as a means to settle issues and forge substantial agreements.

Clearly, to attain peace, the blood shed must end. There is only one road that needs reconquering in Marawi, and it is the road to genuine peace based on justice. (Emely S. Comaling)