As a member of a typical Maranao clan that is closely knit, the Marawi war somehow disconnected our family. The impact was very personal, and collectively, as a family, we were devastated. The frequency of seeing each other decreased. It was heartbreaking to see that the ancestral home where we held family reunions and get-togethers and a place where more memories were nourished throughout generations was gone. For us, that home was like a north star. We already had a point of reference that whenever we would go, there would always be a guide. On the positive side, we also feel that the family members became more sympathetic to each other.
Thus, any development program to rehabilitate the City of Marawi must be rooted in the culture and tradition of Marawi as a family. The province of Lanao del Sur prepared recovery, rehabilitation, and peacebuilding plans for Marawi City in particular and the province of Lanao del Sur in general.
Notably, these development plans are concerted efforts from key stakeholders: local, national, and foreign countries. These efforts are complemented by the cooperation from concerned individuals, civil society groups, business establishments, and other stakeholders who are willing to help Marawi stand up again from where it was before the crisis started.
The planning was also in reference to the Marawi City Government’s vision statement:
“Marawi City envisions itself as a socio-economically developed, clean, peaceful, orderly, and secure urban center inhabited by a God-fearing, morally upright, competitive, and culturally proud people under a caring, forward-looking, dynamic, and righteous leadership which strives to achieve the best quality of life for its constituents. It sees itself as a showcase for what it deems to be its best-vibrant, colorful, and unique Meranaw culture – to the region, the country, and the world.”
As the conflict was winding down, the declaration of the liberation of the City of Marawi was announced, and I saw a glimmer of hope for the future. Someone is holding that glimmering candle that will wipe out the darkness. All I need to do is find that person and allow the renewed vision of the future of Marawi City to be shared so others can hold on to it, cherish it, and support it. I hope it will not take long for the unfolding of the new vision for Marawi City to become a reality. The unfortunate events of the siege of the City of Marawi will hopefully bring about a better cultural understanding among our people.
(This entry is part of Chapter 4: Envisioning the Future of Marawi City.)