By MASIDING NOOR YAHYA
Only the “Amigos” and the “Amigas” who are but a few of the entire people are silent but if you open their hearts, they, too, for sure are sympathetic to the cause of the good brave gentleman Punduma Sumndad Sani whom I like to call Commander Duma not only because he is an original Top 90 member but also because despite having no government power and riches in life, he can command the respect and following of a lot, lot of people.
The “Amigos” and “Amigas” I am referring to are those in government and the CSOs and traditional leaders funded and used by establishments here and abroad to justify the “milk-cowing” (my way of saying), even losing the homeland and our people tragically suffer due to devastation. Apia miyagumbasay so inged, apia patay na asara osog.
In a peaceful but strong-worded statement, Sultan of Guimba Sani, a member of the Bangsamoro Parliament, asked those from Luzon and Visayas allegedly exploiting the protracted rehabilitation of the devastated Marawi Ground Zero to leave and allow the immediate return of the evacuees and build their homes their way.
Sani expressed his emotional outburst in an orientation conference held Wednesday at the Marawi Resort Hotel attended by the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) and other stakeholders about the status of rehabilitation and reconstruction of the city from the havocs of the May 23, 2017 siege.
You should return to luzon and Visayas. Leave us alone. We are not mendicants. Hindi po kami hihingi sa inyo. Kami po ay mararangal na tao. Marawi now has become a milking cow iwanan nyo kami ibigay ninyo ang dignidad ng mga Maranaw hindi sapat na binibigyan ninyo kami. Leave us alone! Pabalikin ninyo kami sa ground zero!”
MP Sani was referring to the TFBM officials and the contractors from outside Mindanao they hired to rebuild Marawi.”
What is TFBM?
TFBM is the government agency tasked for the over-all Marawi rehabilitation. It is headed by Secretary Eduardo del Rosario, a retired military general given powers by President Rodrigo Duterte to head the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), the umbrella agency of various government housing and development offices.
These agencies are the Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF), National Housing Authority (NHA), Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB), Home Guaranty Corporation (HGC), National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation (NHMFC) and Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC).
In a media report, Sani accused the contractors of being too slow and were selling scrap metals they recovered from the Ground Zero, including bodies of damaged and abandoned vehicles, the engines were being reconditioned and sold to urban centers.
“Our city has become a milking cow. Stop the exploitation and leave us alone to reconstruct our lives, and regain our dignity,” Sani said.
Sani also blamed elected officials in Lanao del Sur and Marawi City for virtual tolerance in the sad state of the city and its 200,000 displaced residents.
Maranao leaders reiterate call for TFBM abolition
Maranao leaders are reiterating their demand for del Rosario to resign or the abolition of TFBM. They said it is high time the President give heed to the sentiment of the Maranaos.
Haroun Alrashid A. Lucman, former regional vice governor of the defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) said, “The reason we were calling for del Rosario’s resignation is because he has failed to deliver the expectations.”
Lucman said the call is not for the abolition. “What is needed is change of leadership,” he said.
“We are now seriously planning to bring our people back to their homes with or without government consent,” Lucman told this writer.
“Government failure leaves us with no other choice. What our people see now is a government depriving them of their basic rights,” he added.
Sultan of Marawi Hamidullah Atar has reiterated the call for del Rosario to resign.
Atar told this writer that their stand is firm. “TFBM del Rosario has brought misery and hardship situation of many IDPs than recovery. He needs to resign if he still has remaining delecadeza,” the Sultan who is also a known Maranao civi leader said.
On his part, Bayan G. Balt, former president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Marawi City and Lanao del sur chapter, said it’s time for Sec. del Rodario and his TFBM to leave now for their unsatisfactory works.
“The fact that for almost three years now since the siege, some are still living in tents while our IDPs, who cannot return to their homes may run out of patient,” Balt said. “The situation may spark another unfavorable events,” he pointed out.
Balt is recommending DPWH Undersecretary Emil K. Sadain as Del Rosario replacement, as a Muslim career official responsible for the rehab of areas outside GZ. He said Sadain can best implement the work.
In several instances, Marawi evacuees and leaders had sought for the abolition of TFBM and the resignation of del Rosario as TFBM chair and asked Duterte to replaced him. (Read: Maranao leaders seek TFBM abolition; Call for TFBM head’s resignation snowballs; TF Bangon Marawi blamed for IDPs plight)
Datu Meno Manabilang, chair of Sowara Miyamagoyag, a group he claimed of over 200 thousand IDP members, even went last year to the Ombudsman to file a case against del Rosario and National Housing Authority (NHA) General Manager Marcelino Escalada Jr. for graft charges over the delayed rehabilitation projects for the Marawi siege victims. (Read: Task Force, NHA heads face raps)
All the cries for del Rosario to resign landed on deaf ears and he is still at the helm in running the Marawi rehabilitation until now despite oppositions from the evacuees themselves and their leaders.
The situation may spark another unfavorable event
The Wednesday outburst of Comdr. Duma’s has drawn tens of thousands comments in Social Media which are a hundred percent in his support. Without any negative reaction or comment to his action, it goes to show that truly he speaks the true feelings, sentiments and aspirations of the Maranaos, in general, and the Marawians, in particular.
This growing viral in Social Media should not let go unabated; it should not be taken for granted. For as Atty. Bayan Balt said, “The situation may spark another unfavorable event.” Or worst, another armed struggle!