By ATTY. MAJUL U. GANDAMRA
City Mayor of Marawi
(Speech delivered during the Fourth Session of the Career Executive Service Leadership Conclave Series under the auspices of the Career Executive Service Board held at the Marawi Resort Hotel on November 6, 2019)
To all our distinguished guests, fellow discussants for the sessions, ladies and gentlemen, let me greet you all the way we Meranaws and Muslims always do:
Assalamu Alaikum! Peace be upon to all of you!
I am indeed very honored and privileged to be invited to this event, and to be tasked to give a meaningful Plenary Learning Session 2, which is entitled, Convergence for Marawi Rehabilitation: A Recovery Effort through Partnership Building.
Even during the Siege and for the next two years right after, I have often been asked to speak about what the Marawi LGU, the national government represented by the Task Force Bangon Marawi, and our partners have been doing so far regarding the rehabilitation efforts done so far and those that will be upcoming. However, a discussion of this will not be complete without the mention of convergence, and partnerships for the rehabilitation effort for Marawi City. From the beginning of the Siege and two years after, our experience has proven that rehabilitation is not something to be done by the LGU alone. It simply cannot be done alone. We in Marawi have been able to go this far after May 2017 because of our many convergences, collaborations and partnerships with the numerous organizations and agencies we have worked with. We are here to celebrate partnerships. We are here to celebrate convergence that will help rehabilitate Marawi City in the years to come. And I am here this afternoon to present how convergence and partnerships have shaped Marawi City rehab efforts after the Siege.
In the weeks after the hostilities broke out, the resulting Exodus of the IDPs, and the loss of their homes, livelihoods and properties gave rise to a humanitarian crisis of staggering proportions. Our tragedy has gone down the portals of our country’s history as one of the worst cases of urban warfare since World War II.
The LGU had security in the areas surrounding the city as one of it’s immediate concerns. And as we all know, martial law had been declared in order to contain the conflict. With our partnership with the TFBM, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police, the security situation enabled other parts of Lanao Province, and indeed the rest of Mindanao to continue going on their business in spite of the war. Our humble yet immense thanks go to them, the brave and courageous men and women in uniform.
Other accomplishments with them include efforts on KAMBALINGAN, KAMBISITA, KAWIYAGAN, KATHANOR, and the KATHAGOMBALAY. Many IDP have benefitted from these programs. The government line agencies whom we had collaborated and partnered with must also be recognized for going the extra mile to help our IDPs. The DSWD for instance, must be mentioned for their great efforts in delivering food and other forms of assistance to the IDPs both evacuation center and home based, and later, the temporary shelter residents. Food packs, Cash aid, social welfare assistance are just some of these aids.
The NHA and the HUDC were instrumental in the construction of temporary shelter units scattered across the outskirts of Marawi City.
The DOH has helped us greatly in our efforts to ensure the health of the people, as shown in the many medical missions we have conducted even while the war was still raging. Vaccinations, dental missions, missions especially for the senior citizens and women of child-bearing age were also conducted.
The DOT, TESDA, BFAR, DOE and the DA have moved heaven and Earth in terms of helping the Marawi LGU with livelihood concerns. Some of their contributions to this aspect include the livelihood trainings, e-trikes, fishing boats and fishing equipment, farming tools, seeds, and even livestock. In many cases, seed capital was provided to encourage local small businesses to open and operate. Most importantly, I would also like to mention and emphasize the role of the Department of Education which has also extended their help to our people by providing our kids with the proper education for them to be equipped in their future endeavors. Truly, the help of the above-mentioned not only brought hope to the people, it also helped revitalize the local economy.
Then there are the humanitarian agencies like USAiD, UN- Habitat, World Food Program, UNICEF, among many who have extended their help to Marawi. They are too many to mention.
I will mention our partnership with Angat Buhay through the office of the Vice President as a very good example for going extra mile to provide 70 shelters, children’s library, and livelihood for the IDPs in Sagonsongan. As of now, we are currently collaborating on putting up a Multi-purpose Center for women and youth sectors and hopefully a construction of RHU.
UN -Habitat and the Marawi LGU’s partnership is also worth a mention because both are engaged in a major project that will target three main needs of the IDPs– shelter, livelihood, and safe communities. We recently had a ground breaking in an area in the city where a community will be established for the IDPs who are deserving of such homes.
It is also worth noting that we also had local groups as partners in these projects. We had the Siyap ko Pagtaw, Kalimudan, MARADECA, UNYPAD, Lanao and Marawi Development Center to help out in the implementation, and other local partners. It is a relief to us that they were there as well to help.
Thus, in the process of rehabilitating Marawi, the City Government of Marawi benefitted from the convergence of and working with her many partners and like all partnerships we also had our own ups and downs. And there were indeed so many lessons to be learned. Our relationships were often challenged but what is important is that WE KEPT WORKING TOGETHER. WE WORKED AROUND OUR DIFFERENCES, AND NOT MADE THEM AS OBSTACLES. WE PUT THE INTERESTS OF THE IDPs ABOVE ALL ELSE. WE LOOKED AT DIFFICULTIES AS POTENTIALS.
All of our partners have taught us valuable lessons on how many great things happen when there is convergence, when there is partnership. Cooperation is indeed what helps to make the wheels of change and progress turn.
I am happy to say that the above-mentioned entities never left us, and for this I am thankful to all of them for their help in the rehabilitation of Marawi City. It amazes me that we have been able to have done so much because of this convergence, of these partnerships. All throughout those almost two years, we have been kept productive busy by the humanitarian and rehabilitation efforts. We also credit the government for helping to make things possible for the IDPs. The LGU Marawi will not be able to have responded quickly without the help that our government and our partners have extended to the people of Marawi.
The city government of Marawi is committed in implementing rehabilitation and other projects for the entire city, and despite our government’s herculean efforts, and despite the number of response, assistance and support that we have received so far, Marawi will still need help in the years to come.
There is still much more to be done, as Marawi City has gone back to the drawing board as a result of the extensive destruction that it had undergone. To begin with, Marawi City is currently in need of permanent housing solutions as the current shelters are of a temporary nature. The people of Marawi also need more sustainable livelihood and education opportunities.
The list could be endless. We need to go back and build our homes and lives again. And as such, our efforts alone, along with that of the government, may not be enough as of now. We hope to be able to converge with our partners and commit ourselves to accomplish things towards these rehabilitation goals.
We have one mission and that is to bring back the pride and glory of Marawi and its people. Someday Marawi will be on her feet again, needless of any aid and it will be because of ALL OF YOU.
The road to rehabilitation for Marawi is indeed tough, but with all our partners around, guiding, helping, encouraging, the recovery efforts that we have worked so hard on will give our city a fighting chance to rise again from the rubble! Convergence, partnerships, these two things have made such a great difference in just a span of two years, and we are grateful, yes, we are!
Thank you all so much!