Marawi residents now on long road to recovery
MARAWI CITY – After months of conflict, residents are now starting to return to their homes in this city, bringing with them hope and resolve to overcome ordeals.
Abpisa Barese, 63, and her family evacuated their home on May 26, three days since the firefight began. Their house is located in Brgy. Basak Malutlut, the village where the first encounter between the government troops and ISIS- linked Maute group happened.
Abpisa left with her husband Norlan, 67, and their daughter Zukra, 32. Faced with challenges while in the evacuation center, she had to be strong in order to hurdle setbacks and be back on track for her family. She noted how internally displaced persons ( IDPS) made sure nobody was left behind in evacuation centers, and the spirit of bayanihan and unity was deeply felt by everyone. This helped her get back on her feet as she struggled to provide for her family.
Abpisa is one of the more than 4,000 residents of Basak Malutlut who were given clearance to return home. Upon learning that they could finally return to their homes, Abpisa felt hopeful for the first time in months. She felt happy, but she was also horrified at the thought of seeing what was left of their home. “Makambaling ta den ( We could go back now),” she said.
Teary eyed, Abpisa said, “Matagal ko nang gustong bumalik sa bahay namin. Hindi ako mapakali, gusto ko makita ang bahay namin. Sabi nila nasira raw.”
The day they went back, they cried upon seeing what was left of their home that was almost razed to the ground. Their house appeared to be among those that were looted, and they were left with nothing but damaged properties that were beyond use. Abpisa said she doesn’t know how to start rebuild- ing their lives after the siege. Their family has to continue making both ends meet with the meager resources they have.
Despite all of these, Abpisa believes that Meranaos can continue to survive and surmount these painful ordeals, and that the challenges they are currently facing are meant to teach them a lesson or two. Abpisa’s family was among the thousand families which received food items from the regional government of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
With government support and their cooperation, she believes Meranaos will surely recover and they will soon see the goodness that has come in the guise of a tragedy. With the city now declared free from the clutches of terror groups, the time has come for the people of Marawi City to not only rebuild and rehabilitate their city, but also rebuild their lives as proud Meranaos.