Today, we mark the third anniversary of the Marawi Siege. To this day, the city lies in ruins, and its people’s lives are frozen in time. Many of its residents remain in temporary shelter communities.
Marawi continues to suffer even as we all face the challenges brought about by COVID-19. The ongoing crisis should have by now made us realize: The suffering of one redounds to the suffering of all. Magkakarugtong ang diwa at pamumuhay ng bawat Pilipino. Ang hamon sa isa ay hamon sa lahat; ang pagpapabaya sa isa ay pagpapabaya sa lahat; ang ginhawa at pag-angat ng mga nasa laylayan ay pag-angat ng lahat. Healing requires the entire nation to bring its resources to bear.
Let us also remember that temporary shelter communities pose an even more profound challenge given the virality of COVID-19. Any outbreak in these tightly-packed communities will increase the risk for all of us, and affect a public health system that is already under tremendous strain.
A few days from now, we will celebrate Eid’l Fitr, a Muslim holiday whose message of compassion and inclusiveness should resonate with every Filipino regardless of creed. Three years of inaction and neglect in Marawi is a thousand days too long. We call on all concerned agencies to accelerate their actions while exercising full transparency. Marawi is not merely a tragedy to be remembered; it is an ongoing problem that needs to be solved.