ON MY OWN
On May 23, 2017, President Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao amid a Maute-group related escalation of conflicts. There was a perceived state of rebellion in Marawi led by the Maute brothers and Isnilon Hapilon who is believed to be affiliated with ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria). There was so much debate as to the basis of the declaration. And while the media frenzy was going on, continued assault and attack on Marawi City was unrelenting.
The people in Marawi could only pray for the July 25 to come to end the 60-day period of martial law. The next thing we knew was the President extended the military rule until December 31, 2017. The President based his decision on the recommendation of the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) plus the fact that the supreme court upheld the legality of the declaration.
There was so much agony in the part of the evacuees of Marawi who were left to fend for themselves in the evacuation centers. The evacuees were anxious for the ending of this never-ending siege of Marawi City. They fear for their lives and they fear for their homes left at the hands of the military who continued to airstrike the heart of Marawi City.
The military government on their part vowed not to end the assault unless the Maute brothers and Hapilon will be brought behind bars or be killed in the process. It was not long after that both Maute brothers Abdullah and Madi were reported to have been killed by the military though no body has been found to prove their deaths. But just the same, it was a winning moment both for the military and the Marawi residents because the end of this military siege is at hand.
Ironic may it sound but the public prayed for the Maute brothers to surrender or be killed to end the mili-tary airstrike that has long destroyed the buildings, houses, streets, and the glory that was once claimed by Marawi City.
For more than four months, the once beautiful Marawi City was subjected to bombings, grenade explosions, airstrikes and deaths. Deaths that were piling up in the streets, nooks, rivers, and houses. The Marawi City has seen deaths and smelled deaths for four months; has become armory and morgue for fallen military and terrorists for the number of deaths has been recorded to 822 for terrorists; 163 for soldiers and policemen; and 47 for civilians.
Now that the most wanted leaders of Maute group – Omar Maute and Isnilon Hapilon – have faced their deaths, life in Marawi will bounce back to normalcy.
It may take time for that normalcy to happen. Like a pregnant mother waiting for nine months to labor in pain that will also be the waiting period for Marawi people. But longer than the labor pain and maybe longer than a lifetime. For it might take forever to live again.
The military govern-ment has once said that they will help repair the Marawi that they have destroyed. But that is only for physical structure. Buildings will rise again; streets will become safe once more; houses will be built and rebuilt but the trauma and loss will remain a scar forever.
The Marawi siege that started on May 23, 2017 led by a few number of bandits by the name of Abdullah, Madi, and Omar Maute and Isnilon Hapilon has finally come to a close with their own deaths. Now, let the people of Marawi City live again.