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Senator: LGU to blame for Marawi crisis

Sen. Gregorio Honasan II. photo by MIKAELA CECILLE S. SILVERIO

A SENATOR accused the Marawi local government unit (LGU) of negligence that allowed the Maute terrorist group to prepare for the Islamic City siege.

Sen. Gregorio Honasan II said the ISIS-inspired terrorist group was able to stockpile weapons, ammunition, and food, and even build bunkers and tunnels without the LGU knowing or reporting them to the military.

“[In] every hearing that we (the Senate) have conducted so far, the hardest question to answer is ‘Why did this happen?’ I hold the local government responsible because [the] local government […] is in the frontline of basic services,” Honasan said during a forum held Oct. 25.

Paano nangyari ito? Ang sagot sa amin is ‘Hindi namin alam e.’ […] That is the second question: ‘Bakit hindi ninyo alam?’ ‘Pag eleksyon alam ninyo lahat,” he added.

LGUs must be “empowered” even if it means amending the local government code, the senator said.

“The [national] government cannot guarantee anything,” Honasan stressed. “We will have to guarantee that [the Marawi crisis will never happen again] by working together. [T]he siege—it’s too serious a matter for [the] government.”

On May 23, President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in the entire Mindanao, following the clash between Maute terrorists and the members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police in Marawi City.

The residents of Marawi were displaced due to the siege.

On Oct. 17, Duterte declared that the city is finally liberated from the terrorist group.

Zia Alonto Adiong, assemblyman of the First District of Lanao Del Sur and head of Lanao Del Sur crisis management committee, said the office plans to focus on a “holistic” approach in rehabilitating Marawi.

“We see the rehabilitation and the recovery stage as a transition stage, a transition phase. So basically, we are trying to intertwine peace and order, reconstruction, housing, social services, business and livelihood,” Adiong said.

“Remember, this crisis is not born out of a natural calamity. […] We do not only rehabilitate the damaged buildings but we need social healing. That’s the template. We need social healing in order for us to defeat violent extremists and violent terrorism. We have to heal the wounds in order for the people to really respond to the plans we have for them,” he added.

The seminar titled Warawi: An Economic Battle between Siege was organized by the UST Artlets Economic Society. ALI IAN MARCELINO V. BIONG and JANYN MARIELLA MONTEALEGRE

 

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