Manila should recognize the “Maranao’s culture and resilience as the strongest building blocks” in the reconstruction of Marawi City, and treat them “as active partners and not mere passive receivers” of rebuilding plans.
This was stressed by Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto in reminding the national government that locals “are the best rebuilders of their own city.”
“Development plans are prepared on the ground and not something that is dropped from the air,” Recto said.
The veteran legislator added that “cultural sensitivities are as important as cement” in rebuilding a city—a principle which holds true in Marawi, given its “proud and dauntless people, and tradition of entrepreneurship.”
The seasoned lawmaker said “it is a piece of fiction, that government alone can patch the damages of war.”
“Mobilize the government, harness the people—that’s the best formula. To government’s aid, Maranaos are willing to give their sweat equity. And we know from experience that cement mixed with sweat creates the strongest building material,” the senator from Batangas explained.
“If you allow Maranaos to build it, they will come,” he said, adding that while help from all countries are welcome, “at the end of the day it should be a Made by Maranao enterprise and not a Made in China nor a Made in the USA project.”
It should be a Made by Maranao enterprise and not a Made in China nor a Made in the USA project.
Recto urged the government to swiftly move in two fronts: the clearing of Marawi and the preparation of all pre-construction requirements, especially on procurement, “which is the Waterloo in government infrastructure spending.”
“The military should commit as many forces in clearing Marawi of explosives as they had in retaking it. Kung kulang, magpadala ng reinforcements. Kapag naiinip na ang tao, it creates another social powder keg that will have to be defused,” he said.
The military should commit as many forces in clearing Marawi of explosives as they had in retaking it.
Government, Recto emphasized, should also ready the “one time, big time” spending of at least PhP 15 billion in “Bangon Marawi” funds in the 2018 national budget.
“Pati ‘yung ibang pondo, tulad sa DPWH for roads, and DepED for classrooms, ibuhos na ngayon. Government should take advantage of the good weather window this summer to start construction. Bakit importante yan? Because it will create jobs locals need,” he said.
“Bottomline is that Marawi should be the object of a humanitarian invasion, with the people in front. Kaya ang sabi ko nga dito, what will work is a different and a better kind of PPP—People, Private, Public—partnership, pero una ang tao,” Recto concluded.