Mayors, Minda to lead rehab of Marawi
Mayor Majul Gandamra of the beleaguered city of Marawi in Mindanao made an emotional appeal for more help to his constituents, who were displaced by armed conflict between the Maute group of terrorists and the military.
“Right now, lots are helping, but still not enough. We are trying to alleviate the conditions of our constituents in various evacuation centers [in Iligan City],” Gandamra said during the 3rd Asean Mayor’s Forum Thursday at the Shangri-la Hotel in Taguig City.
Gandamra took the occasion to meet with city chief executives from cities in Southeast Asia led by League of Cities of the Philippines president and Angeles City Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan.
“This is not a problem of Marawi alone or Lanao del Sur, this is a problem for all of us in the face of the ideology of extremism and terrorism. This [Marawi siege] is one effect, and we are one of the victims. Let’s continue to help Marawi City,” Gandamra added.
Angeles City Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan, president of the League of Cities of the Philippines, assured Gandamra of full support to sustain the needs of Marawi evacuees, numbering close to 400,000, and help Marawi’s rebuilding efforts.
“We will be discussing in further expanding our help, either individually or collectively, to Marawi. We assure 100 percent priority our assistance to them,” said Pamintuan, who was with officials of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDa), Chief of Staff Abul Khayr Amalon Alonto II and Chairman Secretary Datu Hj. Abul Khayr Alonto.
Gandamra said he is trying to fulfill his duties at a satellite office in the neighboring city of Iligan, which is some 30 kilometers from Marawi.
“All of us want to go back to Marawi but because of some security concerns, especially that there’s still ongoing military offensive against the terrorists, we cannot allow our people now to go back to Marawi City.”
The resilient mayor said he goes to Marawi City Hall, on a convoy, and with heavy security, on Mondays and Wednesdays to perform the flag ceremony—his powerful display of affirming allegiance to the Philippine republic—and to check on the security situation in affected areas.
The LCP and MinDa officials presented a memorandum of cooperation with Gandamra to formalize their support.
Immediately after the formal proceeding, Gandamra was approached by a representative from Taipei, Taiwan and handed him a “token of encouragement.” The lady representative also asked the mayor for further discussion on how Taipei can provide more help for the Marawi people.
Secretary Datu Alonto, in signing the MOC, made his commitment to “collaborate in extending assistance for the reconstruction, rehabilitation, and development of Marawi and other affected CONFED-Mindanao cities, guided by the aspirations of the Mindanao Development Corridors (MinDC).”
Under the agreement, MinDA will act as the lead agency of the operation by formulating a framework consistent with the capacity of other Philippine cities to render support.
The LCP, on the other hand, will facilitate, assist, and provide information to MinDA regarding the assistance that will be extended by its member cities.
The MOC was formally signed during the 3rd ASEAN Mayors Forum hosted by LCP chair, Mayor Lani Cayetano of Taguig City.