MARAWI CITY – Five years after the siege, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPRU) continues to carry out peacebuilding interventions to help rebuild and rehabilitate the Islamic City of Marawi.

“Through our Social Healing and Peacebuilding Program or SHAPE, the OPAPRU aims to promote a culture of peace, reconciliation and understanding among the people,” said Presidential Peace Adviser Sec. Carlito G. Galvez Jr., who was represented by Government Implementing Peace Panel Chairperson David B. Diciano during the commemoration on Monday of the 5th year anniversary of Marawi’s Liberation.

“Together with our peace partners, we are conducting peace conversations and interreligious dialogues to repair the torn social fabric of society and build up the resilience of conflict-affected communities in Marawi and neighbouring areas,” Galvez added.

The Peace Adviser emphasized that the agency is focused on, “creating platforms to enhance, strengthen, and encourage the meaningful participation of women and the youth.”

According to Galvez, OPAPRU’s interventions with its peace partners is a collective response to threats coming from extremist and other armed groups who pose a threat to the city.

Galvez also affirmed the OPAPRU’s steadfast commitment “to championing the principles of peace, mutual understanding, and solidarity” among the people of Marawi.

For the past five years, the OPAPRU, in collaboration with Task Force Bangon Marawi and other local and international stakeholders, has been carrying out various peacebuilding interventions in Marawi.

These include the SHAPE Program which aims to promote social cohesion and reconciliation among residents, while mainstreaming the culture of peace, mutual understanding and solidarity among the people.

“We would like to assure you that the national government’s efforts to rebuild Marawi will continue to move forward under the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.,” Galvez said.

“May the commemoration of Marawi’s liberation continue to serve as a reminder and an inspiration to all of us what we can accomplish if we come together and work together – as one people and one nation,” he added.

Heroes not forgotten

As part of the 5th year commemoration of Marawi’s liberation, a wreath offering ceremony for the 168 soldiers who lost their lives during the siege was held in this city.

“Remembering the Marawi Siege does not entail living the horrors of the past; rather it aims to reflect on the collective efforts we see from the government, the Maranaos and the stakeholders towards the rehabilitation of the city,” said Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Bartolome Vincente O. Bacarro who was represented by BGen. Arturo G. Rojas.

For his part, Office of Civil Defense Administrator Undersecretary Raymundo C. Ferrer, who was represented by Dir. Harold Cabreros, the commemoration is a grateful recollection of the “commendable spirit of the Filipino nation exhibited in all solidarity that seeks to deny us the very freedom and tranquility that are rightfully ours. Truly, this commemoration is a fitting homage to all who made the sacrifices to save the city and its inhabitants.”

Marawi City Mayor Majul U. Gandamra led the ceremony and expressed his gratitude to the men and women who helped Marawi rise from the siege.

“We are thankful we are not alone – the Philippine government, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, generous government of other countries, non-government organizations, civic groups, private citizens we’re there with us helping us with safety and security concerns, donating financial assistance, goods and expertise, helping us with the rehabilitation of Marawi.”

“We, the Marawi local government unit, the provincial government, the BARMM government and the people of Marawi – shall forever be grateful to them. If not for your assistance, we will not know where we’ll be right now. Marawi has taken a long leap forward from five years ago,” he added.

Also present during the commemoration activities were Engr. Ansary Domado, who represented BARMM Deputy Chief Minister Alim Solaiman; 103rd Brigade Commander BGen. Jose Maria Cuerpo II; 1st Infantry Brigade Commander BGen. Antonio G. Nafarrete; and other officers and personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police.###