MY, MY, MY MARAWI: We wear black for we are not aware of our rehabilitation status

(Delivered during the 4th State of Marawi Bakwit (Sombak) in Marawi City on 29 July 2020)

In the Name of Almighty, the Most Gracious the Most Merciful

We extend our thanks to the international community and all donors who gave and are still giving humanitarian aid.

If COVID-19 is the worst pandemic in recent history, Marawi armed destruction is the worst in the Philippines.

Land, sea and air were used to fight. Filipinos fighting Filipinos.

In between are the civilians.

And so we wear black in condoling with a population whose center of everything was  destroyed.

The 4th State of Marawi Bakwit (SOMBAK) held in Marawi CIty on 29 July 2020. Panel includes Samira Ali Gutoc (in black). Photo courtesy of BALIK MARAWI

We wear black for the missing and dead without names in our cemeteriesWe wear black for those with nightmares and cannot wake up with mental peace.

We wear black for Fatima Lomabao whose four children remain unrecorded and remaining children without scholarship .  She died in a vehicular accident in Cebu.

We wear black for uncertainty over our lands. An old  Proclamation 453 reserves Camp Amai Pakpak and hectares of land to military reservations. Mr. President, please revoke this Proclamation at least in your remaining 24 months and give the MARANAOS the title to their lands.

We wear black because we are suspects in an Anti Terror Law.

We wear black for the many who continue to be evacuated in various parts ie Lumad areas , Upi , Sulu. We call for a ceasefire to all conflicts.

We wear black for double displacement, removed from native homes and again in clearing operations in NCR (National Capital Region) without alternative spaces.

We wear black for the hungry. The IDPs (Internally Displaced Peoples) are not within  the category of sectors that  the DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) would  grant SAP (Special Assistance Program) to.

Puntahan ang bakwit, di kayo ang pupuntahan, walang masakyan yan.

We wear black for those (Overseas Filipino Workers) who have not seen every ounce of their sweat in their construction at bulldozed MAA (Most Affected Areaa or what was Ground Zero during the siege in 2017).  Let their embassies be tasked to inform them and if they have any compensation to look forward to.

We wear black for we are not aware of our rehabilitation status. Allow People’s Congresses to be set up so that every contract entered into must be FIRST approved by a YES vote of all transitional shelter representatives.

With this in mind, we urge, HEAL NOT FEAR

HEAL NOT KILL.

WORK WITH, NOT WORK AGAINST, YOUR FELLOW FILIPINOS.

(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Samira Ali Gutoc-Tomawis, Ll.B., co-founder of the Young Moro Professionals resigned as Commissioner of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission in late May 2017, days after the Marawi Crisis started, citing personal reasons and policy questions. Samira was one of the organizers of the Ranao Rescue Team, a group set up to respond to the crisis. She had earlier served as an assemblywoman, women sector, of the Regional Legislative Assembly, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao; was former director, Al-Amanah Islamic Bank, Inc. and former director of the Marawi Resort Hotel, Inc. She was the lone woman candidate of the Otso-Diretso senatorial slate in the May 13, 2019 mid-term elections and landed first among senatorial candidates in her province of Lanao del Sur).

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