16 November 2017
Reiterating need to unite in rebuilding city
VP Leni visits Marawi Ground Zero, pushes for livelihood dev’t for returning residents
Vice President Leni Robredo on Thursday set foot in the main battle area of Marawi City, which was hit hardest during the months-long clashes between government forces and the Maute local terror group.
VP Leni’s visit to Ground Zero comes as the government begins rehabilitation efforts for the city.
“Medyo overwhelming iyong pakiramdam,” she said of the visit. “Siyempre may nakikita na tayo sa pictures, pero iba pa rin kapag actual mong nakita. Iyong tinatanong ko nga, kung ito iyong naramdaman ko [kahit] hindi ako tagarito, ano pa kaya [para] sa mga tagarito talaga?”
The Vice President then underscored that a “whole-of-nation” approach is necessary in efforts to rebuild Marawi. She urged unity, as well as convergence, in assisting the communities here, in order to avoid duplication of efforts.
She reiterated anew that the residents must themselves be involved in the process, and their cultural and religious sensitivities considered as well.
“Makakatulong na maka-recover iyong tao sa pighati kapag magtulungan tayo na mapabilis iyong rehabilitation. Kasi the longer that it is taking us to rehabilitate, lalong nanlulumo iyong pakiramdam ng tao. Kaya mas mabuting involved sila,” she said.
“Willing naman silang tumulong. Kasi kung hindi sila papatulungin, baka hindi masyadong maintindihan and ma-appreciate iyong extent ng problema. So mas mabuti pinapakinggan iyong boses, tinatanong kung ano iyong gusto, tinatanong iyong pinakamahalaga, at kami naman nandito lang,” she added.
In particular, VP Leni said it is important to prioritize livelihood development for the initial nine barangays that have returned to city after months of evacuation.
“Ang pinakamalaking tulong talaga ay hanapbuhay, kasi alam naman natin na iyong pinaka-nasira dito ay iyong central business district. Talagang iyong economy, kailangang tulungan,” she said. “Gusto natin—I think malalaman namin iyon ngayong meeting with the LGU—ano iyong mga kalakal na puwede nang umpisahan, at paano ito mali-link sa merkado.”
“[K]asi mahaba-haba pang panahon ang kailangan para maibalik sa dati iyong negosyo dito. Pero sa atin, small steps, basta maumpisahan na… Gustong sabihin, while iyong military ay nagki-clearing operations doon sa ibang barangay, iyong mga nakabalik na, iyon iyong asikasuhin natin—paano ba iyong hanapbuhay nila,” she added.
Marawi City is among the areas covered by the Office of the Vice President’s Angat Buhay anti-poverty program, even before the clashes began.
For Thursday’s visit, VP Leni was accompanied by representatives from some of OVP’s partners from the private sector, so they could hear firsthand the need of those affected. Among the assistance turned over here were P500,000 worth of medicines each to Amai Pakpak Medical Center and the City Health Center of Marawi; P300,000 cash assistance from the City Government of Naga; school supplies for grade school students from Children’s Hour; and a pledge to shoulder the van rental cost of transporting displaced residents back to the city, courtesy of RAF International Forwarding.
Salute to soldiers
The Vice President also paid a visit to the 103rd Infantry Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, in Camp Ranao for a security briefing with officials of the Philippine Army. She also met soldiers based there, some of whom were deployed in the war zone during the clashes.
VP Leni lauded their courage and sacrifices, and urged the public to thank them for their service.
“Tingin ko lahat tayo magkaisa na pasalamatan iyong kabayanihan ng ating mga sundalo. Kaninang umiikot ako doon sa Ground Zero, parang ang bigat ng pakiramdam na iyong mga sundalo natin talagang tinaya nila iyong kanilang buhay doon, kaya tingin ko nararapat lamang na tayong mga Pilipino—kahit hindi tayo taga-Marawi—magpasalamat tayo sa mga sakripisyo na ginawa nila para sa atin,” she said.