By Wilnard Bacelonia

MARAWI CITY, March 8 (PIA-ICCC) – Sultans and Datus in Marawi City have refuted speculations labeling the war-torn city a “ghost town.”

In an official statement released Tuesday, March 5, the Marawi Sultanate League (MSL) insists that “normalcy” still reigns in most parts of the city and only the 24 barangays of the most affected area (MAA) have remained isolated and unsafe because of unexploded ordnance buried in the area during the siege.

The military is now in process clearing the area of unexploded ordnance and improvised explosive device (IED).

“By normalcy, we mean that generally, the people are enjoying the tranquility in their homes and peacefully engaged in their usual business or livelihood undertakings,” MSL said in a statement.

MSL has been working closely with the Marawi City Government and the Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) on every step of the city’s rehabilitation and recovery.

The group also acknowledges the difficulty in ascertaining the bonafide property owners inside MAA and contractors being disqualified or other technicalities of the government’s procurement processes, causing the delay in debris clearing.

“The government through the TFBM Subcommittee on Land Resource Management is employing top-of-the-line modern equipment to ensure the job is done well and to prevent future unwarranted troubles or misunderstandings among claimants. Hopefully, in the next few days, a contractor qualifies and subsequently awarded the job so the rehabilitation can begin full swing,” the statement added.

MSL has also seen TFBM chairperson and Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) Secretary Eduardo del Rosario’s sincerity and determination to finish the job.

“Secretary Eduardo del Rosario and his committees can only execute their duties within the confines of existing laws and when allowed by favorable circumstances. Certainly, he cannot do the reconstruction with bare hands,” MSL explained.

The group of Sultans and Datus is also urging the Meranaos to stay vigilant and critical but factual and fair.

“Accusations without considering the attending circumstances will not do any good,” the statement concludes.

MSL is a well-respected organization of royal Sultans and Datus within the “Lima Pumagsopa sa Marawi” including the realms of “Buadi Ibango” and was founded on August 14, 1954 during the time of the late Marawi City Mayor Bato Ali Sr. who served as among its founding leaders. (WLBacelonia/PIA-ICCC)