By Genalyn D. Kabiling
President Duterte on Tuesday assured young residents of Marawi that the government would restore the city following the massive destruction caused by clashes between the military and the Maute rebel group.
The President gave the assurance when he met with around 35 Marawi children in Malacañan Palace. They are part of socio-cultural tour in Manila dubbed as “Tabak Educational Tour: Peaceful Environment for Marawi Children.”
In his short message, the President promised the displaced children of Marawi that he will rebuild the strife-torn city and give them hope again for a better life in the once peaceful Islamic area.
The President explained that the military operations took some time because the government had to take into consideration the safety of the hostages.
He revealed that the military wanted to bomb the mosque used as a haven by the terrorists but he rejected such strategy. He was concerned that the enemies might start beheading the hostages if the soldiers attack the mosque.
So far, he said the enemies were still holding 40 to 70 hostages, both Christians and Muslims.
Before ending his impromptu remarks, the President urged the Marawi children to visit the sites in Manila. He even offered them to stay in Malacanang while he establishes an office in Marawi.
“Thank you for visiting. Come visit me again,” he told the children, with ages ranging from seven to 13. They were given a tour inside Malacanang Museum prior to their meeting with the President.
He likewise assured that the end of the siege is in sight. Lt. Col. Jo-Ar Herrera, spokesperson of Joint Task Force Bangon Marawi, which organized the children’s tour, said the educational tour aims to provide the participants the opportunity “to see a peaceful environment and be able to grasp a positive perspective.”
Some children, interviewed by journalists at the Kalayaan Hall, expressed hope that the war would be over so they can return to their homes. Others were emotional while recalling the damage caused by the rebellion by the local terror groups in Marawi City.
The tour will also comprise a visit to the Mind Museum and the Philippine Army, which will facilitate peace-building activities for the children. (With a report from PND/PNA)
Tags: displaced children, Educational Tour, Joint Task Force Bangon Marawi, Marawi, Marawi children, peaceful environment, Pres. Duterte meets displaced Marawi children vows to rebuild city, President Duterte