Marawi ‘bakwits’ give Duterte failing grade

MARAWI CITY (MindaNews / 22 July) – More than 500 internally displaced persons (IPDs or bakwits) who attended the State of the Marawi Bakwit Address (SOMBAK) on Monday rated President Rodrigo R. Duterte a failing grade for his unfulfilled promises.

Samira Gutoc speaking at the State of the Marawi Bakwit (SOMBAK) Address. Photo from the Facebook page of Drieza Lininding

The IDPs were expecting that by the end of July they will be able to return home at Ground Zero.

“It can be recalled, the early pronouncements of President Duterte that the government will support the rehabilitation and rebuilding of houses of the IDPs at Ground Zero, but Duterte backtracked on his promises,” lamented civic leader Drieza Liningding.

Abdullah Cayamodin, 32, a resident of Barangay Marinaut and a mechnical engineering student of Mindanao State University, said: “He should fulfill his promises because we were the ones who put him in his post now. We deserve to go back to our place in Ground Zero.”

“We really want to go back where our house was burned down. We want to be able to stand up again,” said Sittie Hana Abdul Moner, 42, who carried her one-month-old baby as she participated in the SOMBAK held at the Institute for Peace and Development in Mindanao (IPDM) at the Mindanao State University campus here.

Meranao leader Samira Gutoc Tomawis, who lost her bid as senator in the last elections, lamented that while the wives of congressmen now worry about the terno they would be wearing during the State of the Nation Address (SONA), the Marawi “bakwits” worry about the clothes they would be bringing for their children.

“We hope that the billions of pesos intended for rehabilitation will now be used. We want to go home,” she stressed, urging the government to remove the unexploded bombs at Ground Zero so the Meranaos could return to their homes.

But Asisstant Secretary Felix Castro Jr., field manager of the Task Force Bangon Marawi, said they have yet to go into the process of checking records and submit proper documents before the IDPs can be given permits by the city government.

He pointed out that residents were allowed to visit Ground Zero’s Sector 1 over the weekend, but some IDPs were undecided if they really wanted to go back, or if the properties they were claiming were really theirs.

Castro pointed out that they were still “on track” in their attempt to beat the deadline for everyone to return by the end of 2021. “Slowly but surely, we can all move them back,” he said. (Richel V. Umel / Mindanews)