UP prof says extremists using delays in Marawi rehab '' stoke'' frustrations of victims
A University of the Philippines (UP) professor said the extremist group is using the delays in the rehabilitation of Marawi City to "stoke" frustrations of the victims as the terrorist group continued its recruitment activity in the province of Lanao del Sur.
"The reasons behind their actual disappointments and frustrations had to do with the lack of attention developmental and otherwise on the city of Marawi and Lanao del Sur that continue up to the moment," Francisco Lara, a professor at UP and senior peace and conflict adviser of international alert said during the Foreign Correspondents Association of Philipppines (FOCAP) forum on Friday.
"We just interviewed about two recent surrenderies and in those interviews they actually said that you know its being tap off course by the extremist group they're using the delay in the reconstruction of Marawi as a rally point to try and stoke frustrations of people. They have been continuing their recruitment within Lanao del Sur," he added.
Lara said since 2017 the conflict incidence recorded in Bangsamoro has decline while an increase was noticed in the province of Lanao del Sur.
"First of all, conflict incidence in the Bangsamoro provinces has drop from 2017 onwards but in Lanao del Sur in 2019 there was an increase before having a slight decrease in 2020 last year, very slight such as it has not returned to levels of 2018," he said.
"There is still a Daulah Islamiyah operational unit in those areas amid the slow face of the construction, then most of the violence manifest shooting incident, murder and assault, then you have guns (remaining) the weapon of choice in violent front in a lot of these areas, then the Marawi survivors are still displaced," he added.
Maria Carmen Fernandez, from InciteGov's expressed concern that the rehabilitation of Marawi will further delay because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The current commitment of Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) is by December 2021 the priority infrastructure will be completed but the things is their timeline from 2018, 2019 this is a moving (deadline?), I'm very much afraid that because of COVID maybe even this may also move," she said.
Fernandez added the commitments of TFBM also includes the housing project for the displaced victims of the Marawi siege who were still in the temporary shelters made by the government.
"To all of their promises, how is it, what is happening now and this covers also the housing project which also have their own issues because for those who are following context the temporary shelters only have five years, and its year four so its going to be a very difficult issue moving forward," she added.
As the country will commemorate the 4th year anniversary of the Marawi siege on Sunday, Fernandez emphasized that the InciteGov's and Marawi Civil Society have prepared a report which will be released in June which covers five recommendations about the rehabilitation of the city.
"In summary the overview of our recommendation based on evidence is five things, one is to deliver outstanding commitment to ensure return of displaced by 2021 or sooner if possible, the second... is to be able to expand basis of programming from the old analysis to the current reality that is very much spread," she said.
"The third is to support the local actors to give more authority and resources to local actors in the Bangsamoro to run this, to also give the power to the IDPs themselves,'' she said.
''The fourth is again to continue this kind of review building from the BTA’s report to build this kind of effort and lastly to be transparent to build portals and mechanisms where both locals and government and other actors can do targeting and tracking across project level, but also something to look at are the donor funded projects," she added. Robina Asido/DMS