check out the atlantic‘s A Victory Against ISIS in the Philippines Leaves a City Destroyed. see the photos and weep for marawi. one doesnt have to be from there, one doesn’t have to be muslim or maranao, to feel anguish, especially for the sixty percent poor who lost what little they had, and to wonder if there was no other way. read leandro dd coronel’s Marawi on one’s mind.
Marawi City used to have 200,000 residents. How many of them will or can go back to their former homes? There’s nothing to go back to.
… Did the government win? Did the Maute lose? … What is clear is that the people of Marawi are the losers in the battle of Marawi City. The place is in such total devastation that it will take decades to rebuild it. And it will take a lot longer than that to rebuild the people of Marawi’s lives.
but read too benignO’s Can Marawi City’s reputation as a no-go-zone for Filipino Christians be changed?
Marawi City is one of, if not the most, predominantly Muslim city in the Philippines and has, fairly or unfairly, suffered a reputation as a no-go-zone for Filipino Christians for some time. Across various online forums, assessments of how safe one could feel in Marawi City are varied. Mindanao State University (MSU) — one of the Philippines’ top universities — is located in the outskirts of Marawi. It is often cited as proof that Christians can be counted as inhabitants of Marawi and, indeed, the majority of MSU students and faculty are Christian. However a commentor in the Living in Cebu Forum site noted that most MSU students “go to Iligan [City] for their big city needs”, presumably a preference to the option of venturing into downtown Marawi. Indeed, another went further to describe Marawi as “a scary place”…
Safety, it seems, is conditional and relative in Marawi City. A Yahoo! Answers thread yielded some interesting anecdotes from Netizens responding to the question “Marawi City: Is it safe to go around? I am a christian…?” One remarked that Marawi is safe “if you are from that place or have friends to watch over your back” …
Another said that it is a place where vehicles stolen in Cagayan de Oro City are sent to, never to be recovered again — perhaps a reference to stories about military and police personnel pursuing criminals themselves being disinclined to pursue them into Marawi itself.
As such, it is not surprising that Marawi and cities like it are prime candidates for Islamic terrorists to establish footholds in. Because they are regarded as “Muslim territory” the perception that people in these regions are more tolerant or even accommodation of Islamic extremists is there.
It comes back to the question of how well Filipino Muslims, as has been asked of Muslim minorities living in predominantly Christian or secular societies around the world, can police their own ranksand manage on their own issues that contribute to the radicalisation of members of their community. Lanao del Sur and surrounding provinces are part of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao and, as such, enjoy some degree of freedom to self-govern. This granting of latitude to govern as an autonomous entity was on the basis of religious identity as the name given to this collective of provinces implies.
The people of Marawi and the greater community of Filipino Muslims should confront the reality of Islamic extremism and how, by all accounts, much of it flourishes in predominantly Muslim-populated regions in the Philippines. This reality cannot be escaped by simply “praying for peace” or counting on social media “influencers” to liberally issue meaningless calls to “stand together in solidarity” with their “Muslim brothers”.
i’m afraid that in marawi’s case, the major consideration was not the residents’ welfare in the immediate then-and-now but the marawi (and mindanao) territory’s status in the long-term. hapilon and the maute brothers were not only leaders of extremist terrorist bands but hapilon was also the ISIS caliphate’s official rep in east asia. the goal was to take over and turn marawi into an ISIS province with hapilon as governor. in effect dismembering the philippine republic.
dismemberment, losing a territory, is anathema to the republic. losing control over predominantly muslim parts of mindanao to terrorist groups and islamic fundamentalists scares the bejesus out of us all — including peace-loving moros i would think — in a mindanao that is already predominantly christian.
there has to be a way of granting the bangsamoro self-rule and i believe a BBL, not federalism-for-all, is the way to go.