When Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte declared on October 17, 2017 the “liberation” of Marawi City from ISIS-inspired groups that signaled the halting of the military airstrikes, residents who were forcibly displaced hoped that this will also signal their immediate return to their communities.
However, not even nearly half of evacuees have returned to their homes due to government’s restriction such as not allowing civilians to go back at areas declared as ground zero, requiring an ID system based on voter’s registration, requiring land titles and imposing the Presidential Decree that says Marawi is a military reservation. For those who did return, they were devastated at how their homes were destroyed by military airstrikes and looted by both the ISIS-inspired groups and the Philippine Military.
To the detriment of the internally displaced persons (IDPs), the government’s rehabilitation program is perceived to exclude the residents with no assurances of them getting back to their lands and instead concentrated more on enticing big businesses to invest to Duterte’s plan of turning Marawi into a tourist hub in the South.
Behind the rubbles are residents who ask who should be held accountable for the destruction and looting of their homes, mosques, church, schools and the whole of Marawi City. Behind the shouts for joy of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) are residents who cry for justice against the abuses by state forces during their five months battle with the Maute and other ISIS-inspired groups and with Marawi City and the whole Mindanao under Martial Law.
Download the report of the National Interfaith Humanitarian Mission 3.0 (International Interfaith Humanitarian Mission) titled, 'The Long Road to Justice', in the link given above.