The government was urged on Monday to establish a rehabilitation commission that will oversee the reconstruction of war-ravaged Marawi City.
Military analyst Jose Antonio Custodio, a former professor of the University of the Philippines – Diliman, said in a news forum that the government will need the help of other countries to normalize the situation in Marawi.
“Reconstruction is now part of the counter extremism and terrorism plan. Injustice is still the very origin of extremism and the only sure way to prevent the people from becoming terrorists is by solving the economic and social problems,” Custodio said in a news forum held in Manila.
He said the commission will also determine the origin of terrorism and what measures should be implemented to curb the tide of extremism, find out the extent of foreign influence and unmask local politicians in connivance with the terrorists.
Custodio said that China, Japan and the United States will surely lend a hand to help Marawi City rise again.
A team from the University of the Philippines that recently visited Marawi City said thousands of evacuees need humanitarian help.
International Studies Professor Sarah Raymundo and All Workers Unity spokesman Felix Parinas who visited evacuation centers in Lanao del Sur and attended a forum in Iligan City said the evacuees need food and medicines.
The two visited the evacuation centers in Barangay Turil and Pawak in Saguiaran town in Lanao del Sur and in the town of Pindalunan.
“In Turil, the evacuation is not registered, there are 400 families occupying three floors of a Muslim school. They only have one faucet. They need food like rice,” said Parinas, adding that evacuees there have yet to receive aid from the national government.
Families staying in the evacuation center in Pawak have received relief goods from the government but the children there need medical attention.
“Sick evacuees prefer to stay at the center instead of seeking medical help at a hospital. They don’t like to undergo strict inquiry where authorities require them to present identification cards. Or else, they will be subjected to investigation,” he added.
He also urged the setting up of tent schools so that children can continue their studies.
“What is important is that they have the chance to learn,” Raymundo said.
The UP team had submitted their recommendations to university officials and they expect that a contingent will be sent to distribute relief goods and provide services to evacuees, including psycho-social counselling.
“There is a 12-year-old boy who just sits in one corner and who does nothing but looks at the screen of his cellular phone. When I asked him, he said he was waiting for the text or call of his father who is still in Marawi City,” Raymundo said.