MARAWI: HOPE RISES
In the face of countless tragedies and
against all odds, the Filipino has always
proven to be resilient
BY MAIELLE MONTAYRE
Guided by their faith and family, Filipinos endure in times of disaster, catastrophe, and crisis. Their mettle was put to the test during the recent hostilities in Marawi.
It has been several months since the Battle of Marawi began on May 23, 2017, igniting what would
be months of armed conflict between government forces and local terrorist groups. The Maute group,
affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and led by brothers Omar and Abdullah Maute, initiated the assault on the capital of Lanao del Sur on the island of Mindanao. The group laid waste to the city, setting fire to buildings and houses, taking hostages, and waving the black flag of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
On the same day, President Rodrigo Duterte proclaimed Martial Law in Mindanao for a 60-day period. Undeterred, the Maute continued their assault and hold on Marawi City. On July 22, Congress voted to extend the proclamation until the end of the year, granting the President’s request for extension in
hopes of quelling the rebellion. What followed was a long drawn out battle between the government and
militants, a mass evacuation of the city, and a series of raids and air strikes. The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) sought to capture Isnilon Hapilon, appointed ISIL emir in Southeast Asia and former
leader of the Abu Sayyaf. Hapilon was said to be working with the Maute.
It was only on October 1, after a five-month-long battle, when Marawi was declared liberated by President Duterte. This declaration came a day after Omar Maute and Isnilon Hapilon were killed during an operation to rescue hostages.
Battle operations had officially ended on October 23, and now, many months after the Battle of Marawi began, the Maranaos begin to rebuild their city. Completely war-torn and savaged, the city is a pile of rubble, illustrating the harsh effects of the armed conflict. President Duterte and Defense Secretary
Delfin Lorenzana have said that P50 billion will be needed to rehabilitate the city. Aside from the mangled landscape and the historic sites that have been pounded into dust, the greater tragedy is the country’s painful wound of lives lost. This tragedy reportedly has left 165 soldiers killed, more than 1,400 wounded, 87 civilians dead, and more than a million displaced from their homes.
Here, we share the stories of these survivors and heroes.
THE WOUNDED SURVIVOR
At the Manila Naval Hospital in the Naval Station Jose Francisco located at Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City, several wounded soldiers of the AFP have been brought from the frontlines of the Battle of Marawi.