The date May 23, 2017 will go down in infamy as it marked the beginning of the first-ever urban battle in the Philippines between government security forces and militants affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, including the Maute and Abu Sayyaf Salafi jihadist groups, leaving Marawi City in destruction and rubbles.
For five months, Marawi residents lived in evacuation centers, while the fighting continued.
But on October 17, 2017, President Rodrigo Duterte announced the liberation of Marawi City.
Following the complete destruction of their city, the people of Marawi are starting from scratch in the aftermath of the battle. Good thing they have the government, along with nongovernment organizations, private companies, and foreign aids coming in to their aid to help them stand up on their feet.
It was June 28, 2017 when President Duterte created an inter-agency task force through Administrative Order No. 3 that will focus on all the concerns of Marawi City’s rehabilitation after the siege. This is called Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM), which consists of sub-committees focusing on different sectors, namely reconstruction, housing, health and social welfare, business and livelihood, and peace and order.
It was first headed by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and co-chaired by Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar.
With members from various departments of the government, TFBM’s task was to work with them hand in hand and be the government’s solution to guide, supervise and rebuild the city of Marawi.
Through Administrative Order no. 9 that was made by President Duterte on October 27, 2017, the Secretary of Defense was replaced by the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) Chairman, while the two heads became the vice-chairpersons of the TFBM.
Helping the government’s efforts, NGOs inside and outside of our country also created ways to reach out and raise funds to support their cause. The NGOs are the following, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) that aims to provide shelter and humanitarian assistance to the displaced families; Sinagtala Center for Women and Children in Conflict (TALA PH), an organization that aids women, children and displaced persons by providing workshops like weaving and therapy sessions; Teach Peace Build Peace Movement (TPBP Movement), a group that has a mission to assist people and children to learn and improve their knowledge, skills, and positive values in order to create a culture of peace.
Others pitching their support were the Maranao People Development Center (MARADECA), Duyog Marawi, Red Cross Philippines, Balay Mindanaw and Youth Peer Education Network (Y-PEER Pilipinas).
When the Philippine Business for Social Progress, Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF), Makati Business Club, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and CODE NGO organized a summit in 2017 for the United for Marawi consortium, several companies extended their assistance to the displaced families in Marawi City.
The construction of houses and schools all the way to addressing the concerns in education, health, and livelihood and even fixing the water and electricity connection in the city were some of the efforts and pledges that these private companies promised. The companies were PLDT Smart Voyager, Udenna Corporation, Front Learners Inc., FF Cruz and Co. Inc., Pacific Global One Aviation, Aboitiz, Jollibee Foods Corp, BFBCI, Pepsi Cola Philippines, World Vision, Cebuana Lhuilier, Ayala Foundation, Gabay Guro of PLDT, Meralco, Coca-cola, Manila Water, Maynilad, LBC Foundation, SM Foundation, Oxfam, US Philippine Society, San Miguel Corporation, Philippine Institute of Environmental Planners, Bangsamoro Business Council, Community and Financial Services International, and ASSURE.
On the other hand, foreign aids poured into the rehabilitation of Marawi. In a Department of Finance (DOF) report last November, 2018, the country received P35.1 billion worth of pledges from countries such as the United States, Australia, China, Germany, Japan, Korea, and Spain and also the United Nations (UN).
The United States Government committed in 2017 a sum of P3.2 billion to aid Marawi City through the US Agency for International Development (USAID), which assisted the Philippine Government to improve the situations and conditions of the affected people.
USAID also helped installing water and sanitation amenities, provided health clinics with supplies that aimed to solve the problems of tuberculosis (TB) and also gave support to those with maternal, newborn, and child health needs. They also improved the livelihood and economic situations of Marawi folks, along with the health and education systems in the city, while encouraging peaceful talks, and restoring the water and electricity services.
In addition, to secure food requirements of the families affected in Marawi, USAID partnered with the World Food Programme to donate at least 4 million pounds of rice that can cater up to 45,000 people in four months.
It is still a long way to go before Marawi City can reclaim its lost glory. But the rehabilitation has been fast-paced and the healing, noble. For now, that is all you could ask for.