Duterte, Dela Rosa-Go  in Marawi, Robredo in CDO

CAGAYAN DE ORO (MindaNews / 16 October) – Duterte and Dela Rosa in Marawi, Robredo in CDO.

President Rodrigo Duterte and his political party’s Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates Ronald dela Rosa and Bong Go will be in Marawi on Saturday, October 16, for the 4th anniversary of the liberation of the predominantly Muslim City from the IS-linked Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups.

After five months of intense fighting, Duterte declared Marawi “liberated from the terrorist influence” on October 17, 2017. The anniversary falls on a Sunday but Lanao del Sur has a “No Movement Sunday” policy, hence the President’s visit a day earlier.

A supporter of presidential candidate Vice President Leni Robredo ties pink ribbons around a tree along the boulevard in Barangay Bulua, Cagayan de Oro City on Friday, October 15, 2021. Robredo will visit the city on Saturday, October 16, to assist in COVID-19 vaccination efforts. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO

In neighboring Cagayan de Oro,  Vice President and Presidential candidate Leni Robredo, is arriving on Saturday to help in the COVID-19 vaccination rollout.

The visit of Dela Rosa-Go and Robredo is their first after they filed their certificates of candidacy last week.

De la Rosa and Go are scheduled to barnstorm in nearby Lanao del Norte as soon as President Duterte leaves Marawi City.

Robredo is scheduled to spearhead her “Vaccine Express” program at the PHINMA-Cagayan de Oro College in Barangay Carmen on Saturday.

Bencyrus Ellorin, convenor for LENI Tanging Pagasa 2022 Northern Mindanao , said Robredo will have lunch with Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Emeritus Antonio Ledesma and then meet her supporters at the YMCA in Barangay Puntod.

He said Robredo will proceed to Sumilao, Bukidnon, the political bailiwick of Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri who has been included in the vice president’s 2022 ticket.

Ellorin said Robredo is also set to visit Iligan and Marawi cities on Monday, two days after Duterte’s visit.

Apipa Bagumbaran, Philippine Information Agency coordinator, said Duterte will inaugurate Marawi’s Grand Mosque which is among those structures Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) vowed to repair.

The Grand Mosque’s dome was still pristine in 2002, compared to the damage done after the siege, as photographed in May 2018. MindaNews photo by BOBBY TIMONERA

The Grand Mosque was damaged during the five months of fighting to retake Marawi City from the Daesh-inspired Maute militants.

Bagumbaran said Duterte will also inaugurate facilities like barangay halls and a sports center that were constructed as part of the Marawi rehabilitation program.

TFBM chair Eduardo del Rosario, concurrent Secretary of the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development said that as of September 21, the  government has completed “75 to 85 per cent” of the reconstruction of the bombed-out Marawi.

But Drieza Liningding, leader of the Moro Consensus Group, said the Duterte-led inauguration will leave a sour taste as thousands of Meranaws have yet to return to their homes in the Most Affected Area (MAA).

“They will have a grand inauguration but after that, what? Meranaws still cannot go back to their homes,” Liningding said.

Samira Gutoc, Marawi civil society leader and Aksyon Demokratiko senatorial candidate, called on government to prioritize the return of the displaced residents.

“What I see after liberation is non-liberation,” Gutoc said. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)