EDITORIAL| A new phase

MONDAY augured well for the military when Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute were declared dead, leading to the declaration of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte of Marawi’s liberation. It signaled the final days of the nearly five months of relentless fighting between government troops and the extremists. And for those caught in the conflict, this could be the start of the struggle to rebuild their lives.

Robert Marohombsal Alonto, former member of the peace panel of the MILF, wrote in his Mindanews column: “ People cried not because of sorrow and grief but because of jubilation over the deaths of these extremist criminal thugs who made barbarism and human cruelty the hallmarks of their obscene ideology of hate, intolerance and sectarianism. In other words, people shed tears of joy over their ghastly deaths. Hapilon and the Mautes deliberately caused the senseless destruction of the only predominantly Muslim city in the country, Marawi; the deaths of many innocent civilians as well as soldiers and police; and the mass displacement of 300 thousand people.

“For many people, thus, who suffered and are still suffering because of the mayhem they have unleashed, the ‘permanent neutralization’ of these two thugs was good riddance! That’s why now a celebratory mood is in the air!”

Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza views this turn of event as the beginning of rehabilitation efforts emanating from not only government but the private sector, as well, for this tragedy has to be healed by everyone.

“We at Opapp rejoice over this but the big task of rehabilitation is still starting. Opapp will be one of the agencies in convergence with both public and private partners and we will focus on social healing, reconciliation and repair of the torn social fabric that violent extremism leaves at its wake.

The following days will be crucial in determining the fate of Marawi.

Posted in Opinion