By MASIDING NOOR YAHYA
MARAWI CITY: Barely two weeks from now, evacuees affected by the 2017 Marawi Siege will spend another Ramadan in transitory shelters, this time, under a restricted movement due to the pandemic coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
This will be the fourth Ramadan that thousands of evacuees will spend succesively in government provided temporary shelters. Despite promises in the past of Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) to bring them back to their homes in the Siege’ most affected areas, the government has not done it so.
Just a little over a month from now, the Marawi siege will mark its third anniversary on May 23, with the city still in ruins due to the war between government forces and the Maute and allied terrorist groups that killed more than a thousand people, devastated homes and properties and displaced thousands.
The evacuees have moaned a lot of grievances including their clamor for Secretary Eduardo del Rosario to resign as TFBM chairman allegedly due to incompetence and his failure in rehabilitating the devastated city despite billions of dollars that poured in for that purpose. Until now, they remain in temporary shelters, almost hopeless.
With the deadly pandemic virus which compels them to stay at home, the displaced persons are already complaining that they will not only succumb to the suffering of the siege aftermath but also to the deadly Covid-19.
What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Hijrah, the Muslim calendar. It will fall this year either on the 23rd or the 24th of April, depending on the sighting of the new moon this month.
It is Islam’s holy fasting month of which over a billion Muslims around the globe are enjoined to observe.
During Ramadan, able Muslims who reach the age of puberty are required to fast from dawn to dusk at certain specific hours by abstaining from food and drink intakes, smoking and from carnal desire and other forbidden things.
It is a time when Muslims concentrate on their faith and spend less time on the concerns of their everyday lives. It is a time of worship and contemplation.
Muslims can eat a pre-dawn meal (usually including protein and fats) known as suhur to sustain them during the day. Once the fast begins, even taking a sip of water is seen as breaking the fast.
At the end of each day, the fast is broken with prayer and a meal called the iftar. In the evening following the iftar, it is customary for Muslims to go out visiting family and friends. The fast is resumed the next morning.
There are some exemptions to the fasting for health reasons. Pregnant, breastfeeding and menstruating women are exempt from the fast. The ill, children and the elderly are also not required to participate.
Ramadan is also a time to consider those less fortunate. Many Muslims will donate money to charities, while others distribute iftar meals to low-paid workers and the homeless.
It is believed that good deeds done during Ramadan are rewarded many times over.
But the local government of Marawi City has been on the top of
LGU not remiss in its obligation
Mayor Majul Gandamra has maintained the city government has not been remiss of its obligation and mandate in taking care of the welfare of his constituents especially the internally displaced persons (IDPs).
He said he is in constant contact and coordination with concerned government agencies, the barangay officials, community leaders and the entire stakeholders to see to it that the needs of our people are met according to the LGU capacity.
As of Tuesday, the LGU has distributed some 3,188 food packs containing four kilos of rice, three cans of sardines and three packs of noodles to the IDPs in transitory shelter sites in barangays Boganga, Rorogagus, Sagonsongan of Marawi City and in Bakwit Village in Matungao, Lanao del Norte.
Gandamra led the relief operation of the city government to families affected by the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ). Earlier, the city government and the barangay local government units of the 24 most-affected area barangays have also distributed food packs to the IDPs
He asked for patience and understanding of the IDPs during hardship caused by the COVID-19 threat. He said that despite the fear and the dread that COVID-19 brings, the city government will continue to provide support for the residents.
Marawi city government will continue the distribution of food packs on Wednesday for the 6,500 families of 21 barangays in the city and distributions for the remaining barangays are also scheduled. (RSP)