PLAIN AND SIMPLE| Transforming Marawi

IT LOOKS like Marawi, this city at the heart of Mindanao, is taking the center stage in the ongoing development target of the government.

 Some call it the rebuilding of Marawi. Others call it the reconstruction of Marawi. Whatever it is, I call it the transformation of Marawi.

 I was there in Marawi accompanying PSC Chairman Butch Ramirez who was invited by Mindanao State University as the commencement speaker. Sampid ra ko, so I had the time to look around and observe. The climate from where we stayed was cool and the place we stayed was grand.

 From a distance, I could see the vast expanse of Lake Lanao. And MSU sat in the huge property of the school atop a hill overlooking the lake. Such a wonderful place because it is laden with wonder.

 I was curious with Marawi because I had not visited it and to think I am supposed to be a Mindanaoaon. So I was simply glad I was there and saw Marawi up close. But I have not really toured the main streets of the city.

 I too was curious because for a time Bishop Fernando Capalla was assigned bishop there. It must have been a thrilling and meaningful experience leading the flock in that place.

 Generally, the Maranaos occupied mostly the lands of Marawi. And they are Muslims. For sure there are other tribes and religions there, but majority professed the Muslim faith.

 And then this whole war happened, and the Duterte government was and is determined to crush the rebels there. We have seen how Marawi was pulverized. It was for sure an experience people there would never forget.

 Now is the time to rebuild the houses and roads and streets of Marawi. But rebuilding is only for infrastructure. It is really best if the infrastructure would be world class so that Marawi can be a place where people of the world would visit, and learn from the experience.

 I was listening to Architect Jun Palafox, and I really pray that he be given the chance to be part of the rebuilding of Marawi. He knows urban planning because he has done it in other countries.

 But like I said, rebuilding is one thing, transforming Marawi is another thing. For transforming is more than rebuilding the infrastructure, it is really transforming the lives of people there. It is about changing mindsets. It is putting up a place where diversity is respected and unity is upheld.

 The Lanao Lake would be the best place to unite our people of diverse beliefs and traditions. Going to Marawi would be the best option any guest, tourist and visitor would do. It means prosperity for all. It means attitude changing from being tribalistic to nationalistic.

 Malaysia is now fueled by their aggressive tourism promotion. I think we should learn a two or three on it. By transforming Marawi, we will be telling the world that we Filipinos are ONE while being diverse.

 We celebrate our commonalities with this transformed Marawi. We respect our uniqueness. And we continue to reconcile our differences. This is just to share a piece of my mind. I know government has people to handle the transformation of Marawi.

Posted in Opinion