MARAWI CITY: The Marawi Sultanate League (MSL) has refuted the tagging of Marawi as a “ghost town” and insisted that “normalcy” reigns in most parts of the city.
In a statement, the league said only the 24 barangays of the most affected area (MAA) remained isolated and unsafe because of unexploded ordnance buried in the area during the war.
While the military said it is now in the process of clearing the area of unexploded ordnance and improvised explosive device (IED), TFBM has started weeks ago the clearing of debris from the MAA although it is slowed down by the difficulty in ascertaining the bonafide property owners and other technicalities of the government’s procurement processes.
“By normalcy, we mean that generally, the people are enjoying the tranquility in their homes and peacefully engaged in their usual business or livelihood undertakings,” the MSL said.
On February 1, The Washington Post came out with an article stating the city is still a ghost town which was belied by Task Force Bangon Marawi chief Secretary Eduardo Del Rosario.
Del Rosario said in a press conference that the reality on the ground had nothing to mean a ghost city “but instead it’s full of economic activity.
He stressed that the most-devastated area in the city was only 250 hectares as opposed to the city’s total area of 8,000 hectares.
But former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) vice governor Haroun Alrashid Lucman, Jr. said Marawi is a ghost town. “Why can’t we be truthful about it?”
Lucman said, “It’s obvious the Post refers to the MAA, which it is,” responding to others who called the Washington Post’s article as merely semantics in using Marawi City.
Marawi civic leader and opposition senatorial candidate Samira Gutoc belied the claim of Del Rosario that the war-torn area was “alive and booming” and not a “ghost town.”
“It’s really ghost. It is ghost when you have the commercial capital in Marawi City burned and you have not yet rebuilt it after 20 months,” Gutoc told reporters.
Recently, it was reported that Maranao leaders sought for the abolition of TFBM for its alleged failure to rebuild the city almost two years after it was devastated during the Marawi Siege.
Accusing the TFBM leadership of “incompetence,” the Maranao leaders said they were pinning their hope on the newly established Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) to rehabilitate Marawi City.
MSL is an aggrupation of sultans and datus in Marawi founded in 1954 by the late City Mayor Sultan Bato Ali. Headed by Sultan Maamor of Dansalan Nasser D. Sampaco, most MSL members are ranking traditional leaders.
According to local Taritib (traditions), Marawi is called Lima Pumagsopa sa Marawi because it is composed of the five major clans in Marawi represented by the five sultans of Bacolod, Toros, Sakayo (Marawi), Guimba and Madaya.
None of the above sultans is a member in the MSL.
In December 2018, it conferred a title on Secretary Del Rosario as “Adopted Son of Marawi Sultanate League,” which became controversial when royal traditional leaders of the city questioned its moral authority to do that.
Sultan Abdul Hamidullah Atar, the reigning sultan of Marawi, said the event made by the Sultanate League in Marawi is not unanimous from the five major clans in Marawi.
He said there was no one of the Sultan of Bacolod, Sultan of Toros, Sultan of Marawi, Sultan of Guimba and Sultan of Madaya present during the conferment upon Del Rosario.
Besides, he said the honoree Del Rosario never performed an excellent job in so far as Marawi rehabilitation is concerned to deserve such a conferment.
MSL has been working closely with the Marawi City Government and the Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) on every step of the city’s rehabilitation and recovery.
Incidentally, prominent members of MSL are closely related by blood to powers that be in the city and in national level.
(MASIDING NOOR YAHYA)