By Masiding Noor Yahya
July 22, 2019
MARAWI CITY: Even as Mindanao’s business leaders are expecting Mindanao’s development to take center stage when President Rodrigo R. Duterte delivers his State of the Nation Address (SONA) 2019 on Monday, Maranao leaders are hoping President Rodrigo R. Duterte will deal on fast-tracking the Marawi City rehabilitation in his 4th SONA.
Datu Meno Manabilang, chair of the 65-thousand strong Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) of Marawi, said it is over two years since the Marawi Siege of 2017 but tens of thousands evacuees are still living in tents and temporary shelters because rehabilitation has barely started.
Manabilang said he doubted if the evacuees can return to their devastated homes in the most affected area or Ground Zero in August as promised by the Task Force Bangon Marawi.
“With the way the rehabilitation is going on, it is seems impossible for the TFBM to meet its timetable,” he said.
The Maute group affiliated with the Islamic Dawlah laid siege of Marawi on May 23, 2017 that lasted five months before government forces liberated it.
The war had devastated the city commercial center, destroying homes and properties, killing thousands and sending hundreds of thousands residents to flee.
Meanwhile, Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) chair Nathaniel Dalumpines said he is optimistic the President’s SONA on Monday would focus on Mindanao’s peace and development initiatives.
“We are also looking forward to hearing directives from the President that will effect a long-term and inclusive development for Mindanao,” he said.
He particularly cited the President’s ongoing support for the revival of barter trading between our island-provinces and their counterparts in the BIMP-EAGA (Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area).
Dalumpines said based on the highlights from the Pre-SONA fora conducted this month, the Duterte administration remains to be focused on providing a comfortable life for every Filipino by providing more jobs and opportunities, prioritizing catalytic infrastructure projects, and bringing development closer to the countryside.
Mindanao Business Council (MinBC) chairman Vicente Lao said he also hopes the completion of the Mindanao Railway System (MRS) during the term of President Duterte.
Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA) Executive Director Stephen Antig said he expects the SONA to emphasize support for agriculture, especially on the export sector. (MNY/RSP)