MARAWI has been liberated from the terrors of war and the Philippine nation continues to be in a state of mixed emotions. Some rejoiced at the conclusion of resounding gun fire and airstrikes while others find solace with justice served to those who have strayed.    A few remain calmed but skeptical of the situation.

      “This too shall pass.” This has been the hope of those victimized by the Marawi Siege, particularly the Meranaws. Now, it has passed. What now?

      This signals the process of healing and of rebuilding Marawi City after it has undergone the horrors of war.   It is the time to rebuild the lives of the people of the lake – the Meranaws.

        As we embark on   rebuilding a “new” or “better” Marawi, questions are raised pertaining to its longed rehabilitation. What should be done? How will it be done? When will it start? These are a few of the questions raised concerning the rehabilitation program for Marawi City. But the most important question to ask is, “Who should do the rehabilitation?

         Well, this is not the time to debate upon this case. What we need are not answers but action. This is the time when all the elements of a state should function all together to better the cause of rehabilitation of Marawi and of rebuilding its people’s lives.

        Prevalently, the Philippine government is doing everything in its power to address these issues and so are the Non-Government organizations, Civil Society organizations, Religious Groups, and others that seek to help the   wretched city and the needy people of Marawi.

       What to do in this trying time and who shall act upon this ruin –these are not exactly the kind of rhetoric to be asked. How the entire Filipino nation could work collaboratively in peace at the course of uplifting the morale of the Meranaws –that is perhaps the more important question to ask. Whatever good the Filipinos gain from helping the once forsaken city all works constructively for the betterment and appeasement of the entire country, the Philippines.

         One commends the initiatives of Filipino volunteers and local artists of the country who rendered help in the form of relief operations, donated funds for the early recovery of Marawi and those fund-raising programs launched by Media companies like the media telethon “Tulong na, Tayo Para sa Marawi” initiated by the Abs-Cbn Network and the “Damay Kapanalig Marawi” of Radio Veritas for the rehabilitation of Marawi.

         Add to them the foreign aid pledged, according to reports, by Australia worth ₱1 billion, the U.S. (₱730 million), Thailand (₱100 million), China (₱85 million –with a specified ₱70 million for soldiers wounded in action and ₱15 million for Marawi rehabilitation), and the European Union (₱49 million that was made public by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana in his talk with CNN Philippines.)

         Let us not forget the total of P10 billion ($197.66 million) Philippines’ 2018 National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (NDRRM) Fund, and 2017’s contingency fund that was allocated by the Department of Budget and Management for the Marawi rehabilitation program alone.

         Regardless of the crisis that has befallen to the once peaceful and Islamic city of Marawi, blessings are abundant just like the abundance of Marawi’s nature and its people’s culture. It is only proper that the Meranaws themselves should get to decide what to do with their city.

         Yet, the Meranaws shall open their doors for aid and assistance from others and the Philippine government to ensure the sustainability of their rehabilitation program. Although capable, they still are in need of a helping hand to accompany them as they rise above their hurt. And when there is hurt, a healer is but necessary. That is where the Philippine government and all other concerned parties who are committed and devoted to helping the wounded Marawi, should come in.

         Our Marawi, for a moment you were knocked down but let not that moment blind you from the presence of those who are with you.  Instead let that moment be your peace and hope as you undergo the bittersweet metamorphosis towards a “new” or “better” Marawi.

         Help is coming your way and You, Marawi, shall rise again. (AM Acmad)