A project entitled: Suara Muslim Initiative for Leadership Empowerment (S.M.I.L.E.) and Iftar for Cause: RTD (In the Rehabilitation of Marawi City) was launched last May 30, 2018 by partner organizations – University of the Philippines’ Institute of Islamic Studies in partnership with Research Association for Islamic Social Sciences, Inc. (RAIS) and Center for Integrated Development Studies – Islamic Studies Program with the US Embassy Philippines.
The Dean of Institute of Islamic Studies, Macrina A. Morados welcomed everyone through her opening remarks, where she considers the event as a gesture in solidarity for the Muslim celebrating Ramadan. Several speakers also stood up for certain topics as they have discussed it during the event.
The US Embassy Representative, Ryan Bradeen said that the Embassy wants to see improvement from education, health care, violent extremism and other social concerns from the Philippines to the Muslim community.
The rehabilitation of the Marawi Siege was fully supported by AFS Intercultural Programs Philippines represented by the Director, Armieyah D. Ayob by being one with the launching of the S.M.I.L.E project. The project was launched to create awareness for the victims of the Marawi Siege last May 23, 2017, where the Filipino nation is not fully informed about the bombings, exchanging of fire guns, women are being raped, men are being recruited to join terrorism and the total number of casualties.
The topic of Marawi Crisis: Looking at the Situation from Insider’s View was discussed by the Marawi PNP Chief of Police, Col. Ebra Moxsir, where he stunned everyone with his statement “Pwede nating ipagmalaki ang Marawi’, giving everyone a hope that Marawi has a great chance for development.
The President of Mindanao State University, Dr. Macapado Muslim, shared his thoughts about the terrible incident in Marawi, where he part his personal sentiments seeing his relatives lining up for food. The discussion got even more intense when the Head of Rehab Rescue Team, Samira Gutoc-Tomawis, talked about the “Human Rights Collateral Damage in Marawi.” Samira presented the suffering and injustices done to the people by sharing her documents to the audience. She advised the accountable people to do not just let this act buried in a carpet.
Lastly, the program was ended by Mr. Eduardo Tadem, a Convener, Program on Alternative Development., CIDS, through synthesizing all the topics discussed by the prestige speakers.
After the program, the breaking of the fast was spearheaded UP Chancellor Michael L. Tan who was very grateful for the event and let the attendees enjoy the program.
Overall, the event gave significance and attention to the realities of the Muslim community that opened the eyes of the Nation. Rebuilding Marawi is not just physical reconstruction in which they have to rebuild infrastructures, but it is also about the reconstruction of the values of the perpetrators.