Marawi, A Year After: A Photo Exhibit

By Ma. Teresa Montemayor

November 27, 2018, 8:35 pm

MANILA -- To let the rest of the country understand the current challenges faced by Filipino Muslims in Mindanao, a photo exhibit titled "Marawi: A Year After" was held at the National Museum of the Philippines' Museum of Anthropology.

The month-long exhibit, which opened in October, showcased the photos taken by Mylah Reyes Roque, wife of former presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, during their official visits to Marawi.

“My first in Marawi was at the height of the siege when my husband and I brought blankets and mats to displaced residents in the evacuation centers. We also brought socks and underwear for soldiers and policemen,” she said during a talk about the exhibit on Friday.

Former Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque with his wife Mylah Reyes-Roque and soldiers during Marawi siege. (Photo courtesy of Mylah Reyes-Roque)

Roque visited the site for the second time with Home Development Mutual Fund or Pag-IBIG officers to provide housing assistance to affected employees of Mindanao State University.

Her third visit was with Cielito "Honeylet" Avancena, President Rodrigo Duterte’s common law wife, and the Du30 Cabinet Spouses Association. They distributed cash assistance and relief goods to the women of Marawi.

Roque’s photos showed the expansive devastation caused by the Marawi siege -- bullet-riddled mosques and cathedrals, crushed commercial and residential buildings and wrecked bridges and roads.

Roque's photos showing the damaged incurred by one of the big mosques at Marawi's Islamic Center.
'Bombang hindi sumabog'. Roque said this is one of the unexploded ordnances (UXO) found on Menor Street.
Saint Mary's Cathedral after siege. Roque said Saint Mary's Cathedral is perhaps the only Catholic church in Marawi, which has the features of Christian and Islamic elements. 
Residents spray-painted their homes to show ownership.

According to Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM), the estimate cost of damaged public facilities, infrastructure and commercial structures that need rebuilding is PHP17.2 billion. It said the clearing alone of eight to five million metric tons of debris would cost more than PHP3 billion.

At the photo exhibition, TFBM provided an overview of the rehabilitation plan through a video. The group has begun with debris cleaning, site development, improvement of roads, underground water and electric utilities and telecommunications and sewage systems.

By 2020, the group will begin with the construction of public buildings and commercial structures, alongside homeowners’ rebuilding of privately-owned properties so residents can safely return to peaceful and productive communities by 2022.

On May 23, 2017, militants led by the Maute group and Abu Sayyaf seized Marawi City to install a caliphate in the southern part of the Philippines.

The government declared war against the lawless groups that lasted five months. Apart from killing hundreds of people and displacing thousands of families, the siege destroyed the cultural properties and residences in the city, known as the "Islamic Capital of the Philippines". (PNA)