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Heed the lessons of war says Marawi mayor

Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra urged residents of the city to reflect on the lessons of war as the country  marks the first anniversary of the five-month siege by the ISIS-inspired Maute group.

“As we remember what had happened in Marawi last May 23, 2017, let us go back and reflect upon the few things…and remember all the men and women who had lost their lives so that our city could be released from the hostilities that reduced our city in rubbles,” Gandamra said during Wednesday’s commemoration rites in Marawi attended by national officials led by Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza.

Gandamra said the lessons of the war must be instilled on the residents of Marawi so that similar violence will never happen again.

“We have seen much during the five-month siege. Properties and structures were destroyed, we lost our relatives and families,” he said.

“We are not only here to give honor for the departed, the soldiers, police and civilians who sacrificed their lives for us, but also to learn the lessons that the war has taught us,” he added.

Dureza shared Gandamra’s sentiment, calling on the people of Marawi to support the government in its effort to stamp out extremism in the city and neighboring areas.

“We’re just visitors here and have not felt much the pain and hardship you have experienced. But you’re from here and you are in the best position to say what happened here, why it happened, and how can we prevent it from happening again,” Dureza said.

Dureza, together with local, military and national line agency officials, led an interfaith prayer offered to those who perished during the siege. The participants also signed a peace covenant, followed by the symbolic release of doves and white balloons.

ISIS-inspired Maute terrorist group laid siege to Marawi that resulted in the death of over 1,000 people. The conflict ended five months later after Maute’s top leaders, Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute, were killed by the military.

About 165 soldiers and policemen as well as an estimated 908 Maute-ISIS group terrorists were killed and 852 firearms were seized in the five-month campaign that began May 23, 2017, and ended in October.#