Marawi women are going home

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) - Frustrated by their situation, some displaced women are planning to return to their homes in the besieged city of Marawi on the day President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his national address. 

Enough is enough! Come what may, they’re going back to Marawi City on July 24, vowed a group of women displaced by the fighting between government security forces and Islamic militants.

“Any right-minded Maranao and (internally displaced person) should go if only to show the world that we are coming home. We have been suffering in evacuation centers,” Bai Sittie Marohomsar said on Thursday night, during a debriefing of a group of women in a hotel here.

The women plan to return on the day that President Rodrigo Duterte would be delivering his second State of the Nation Address.

But Marawi Mayor Majul Usman Gandamra warned the group about the “still ongoing offensives and the risk to people’s lives” in the area.

“I am hoping they will not (go back to Marawi) without clearance from the military and local government units,” he said.

The group, however, appeared determined to go. “We will go home. Try to tell the others. We are not going to kill anyone … we are not going to fight with the government. We cannot do that because they can drop bombs on us,” added Marohomsar, 52.

Fearful

“Perhaps the Filipino people might just have the heart to tell President Duterte that enough is enough,” Marohomsar said.   Constantly, she added, “we are getting insults from the President who is supposed to be our very own.”

Marohomsar said they were also worried that the President would extend martial law in the city, which would mark its second month on July 23.

“If you extend (it), what will happen to us? We are fearful of the future facing us,” she said.

More than 400,000 people have been displaced since violence erupted in Marawi City on May 23.

Nearly 40,000 remain in cramped and unsanitary emergency shelters set up in community halls, gymnasiums and Islamic schools.

According to Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial, at least 24 people have died from dehydration, pneumonia and other illnesses in the centers.

Anisah Saripada, 47, a resident of Lilod, Marawi City, said she will join the July 24 “homecoming.”

“It’s painful for me. I don’t know if we still have a home when we go back. Let us not discuss what’s the cause here. Let’s just go back,” she said. 

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