Marawi mayor: Heed the lessons of war

By Irma Boza

May 25, 2018, 3:44 pm

MARAWI CITY--Local residents should reflect on the bitter lessons of war as this city marks the first anniversary of the five-month bloody siege by the ISIS-inspired Maute group.

This was the message of Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra during Wednesday's commemoration marking the liberation of the war-torn city.

“As we remember what had happened in Marawi last May 23, 2017 let us go back and reflect upon the few things...and remember all the men and women who had lost their lives so that our city could be released from the hostilities that reduced our city in rubbles,” Gandamra said during the commemoration rites, attended by national officials led by Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza.

It was essential, Gandamra said, that the lessons of the war be instilled on the residents so that similar violence will never happen again.

“We have seen much during the five-month siege. Properties and structures were destroyed, we lost our relatives and families," the mayor said. "We are not only here to give honor for the departed, the soldiers, police and civilians who sacrificed their lives for us but also to learn the lessons that the war has taught us.”  

Sec. Dureza shared Gandamra's sentiment, calling on the people of Marawi to united behind the government in its effort to stamp out extremism in the city and neighboring areas.

“We're just visitors here and have not felt much the pain and hardship you have experienced,” Dureza said.

He added; But you're from here and you are in the best position to say what happened here, why it happened, and how can we prevent it from happening again."

Dureza, together with local, military, and national line agency officials, also led an interfaith prayer offered to those who perished during the siege.The participants also signed a peace covenant, followed by the symbolic release of doves and white balloons.

The Marawi siege occurred after ISIS-inspired Maute terrorist group laid siege to the city that resulted in the death of over 1,000 people. The conflict ended five months later after Maute’s top leaders, Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute, were killed by the military.

About 165 soldiers and policemen, as well as an estimated 908 Maute-ISIS Group terrorists were killed and 852 firearms were seized in the five-month campaign that began May 23, 2017 and ended in October. (Irma Boza/PNA)