OUR MARAWI: At the end of the day, Marawi will define the Duterte administration’s success or failure

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 16 Nov) — After all that’s said and done, I agree with my young cousin-in-law and brother, Atty. Naguib Sinarimbo, who contends that it will be Marawi, at the end of the day, that will define the Duterte administration’s success or failure.

The war on drugs is protracted and therefore incremental in nature, and will achieve some measure of success for sure under the Duterte administration. But it will take more time, perhaps into the next couple of administrations, before it can be said with definitive conclusion that the war has been won. That is, of course, assuming that the succeeding Philippine administrations are as determined and relentless as the Duterte administration to defeat and eliminate the illegal drug menace.

Marawi City, however, is a different thing. Its rehab and reconstruction, as well as the restoration of the feeling of human security to its people, are an immediate and urgent matter that cannot be put off for another time and passed on to future administrations.

Marawi suffered total destruction under the Duterte administration. To those tens of thousands adversely affected by this man-made catastrophe, it doesn’t matter who or what caused them to lose their city and the lives of their family members and suffer the appalling misery as a consequence thereof. What is now of paramount importance is the return of Marawi to them for it is only in such a return that their sense of human security is restored.

What has to be underscored is that Marawi now is at the epicenter of what is still the unresolved Mindanao conflict. The issue of the BBL (Bangsamoro Basic Law), which has created its own controversies even without Marawi, has been overtaken by what happened to Marawi and its people. For even assuming the BBL is passed in its pristine and undiluted form, which is now unlikely because of the different versions now pending in Congress, without the successful rehabilitation of Marawi and its people, there will never be the peace and quiet that proponents of the BBL, or any BBL for that matter, have promised to achieve.

Even the campaign for federalism, granting that it too commences with renewed vigor, will be treated with stoicism, if not cynicism, if the rehabilitation of Marawi and its people is not properly and immediately undertaken. For in its rehabilitation, as aforesaid, lies the revival of human security. It goes without saying that absent human security, which encompasses security of abode, there will always be the perennial feeling of dissatisfaction, of discontent, of frustration and desperation that will keep the embers of the contagious spirit of rebellion burning.

Unfortunately, this is the most far-reaching ramification of the Marawi tragedy that impacts on the Duterte administration. For indeed, it would be an absurdity to claim that historical injustices which began several centuries ago have to be resolved to put closure to the Bangsamoro Question but the destruction of Marawi that commenced five months ago remains an unsettled tragedy.

The rehabilitation of Marawi and its people, thus, is the greatest challenge that faces the Duterte administration – which includes those Muslims in the Cabinet circle and other levels of government – in the remaining five years of its governance. (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. OUR Marawi is open to anyone who wishes to Robert Maulana Marohombsar Alonto was a member of the peace panel of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front that negotiated the Framework Agreement of the Bangsamoro signed in 2012 and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro signed in 2014. He was also a member of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission that drafted the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law that the Aquino administration did not pass. This piece was posted on his Facebook wall on Nov.15. The author gave MindaNews permission to reprint this).