Marawi City as tourism hub? Group hits proposal as ‘insensitive and callous’

Jun. 28, 2017

FIGHTING GOES ON. More than four weeks since the siege occurred, intense fighting continues in Marawi City. Smoke billows in various areas in Marawi as military ground operations and air assaults took place on Thursday morning, June 22. (Alex D. Lopez/

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Insensitive and callous.

This was how human rights group Hustiya tagged and scored the proposal of the Department of Tourism to make the besieged Marawi City as tourism hub.

“Rehabilitation for Marawi and reparation for the victims of internal displacement should be the topmost priority. Lives were lost, rights were wronged, livelihood and properties were destroyed. The DOT’s plans of making Marawi into a tourist hub while in ruins and being leveled to the ground by continuous aerial bombardment is utterly callous and insensitive,” Hustisya Chairperson Evangeline Hernandez said in a statement on Wednesday.

The tourist hub proposal was proposed by Sen. Richard Gordon. “We must all aim for the common good. At this point in time, we must already think how Marawi can rise after the war,” Gordon, a former tourism secretary, as quoted saying in a news report.

He said that the proposal will spur the development of the entire island of Mindanao.

“The losers here are the people, but they could be the biggest winners if we aim for the common good that after this battle that is going on there, we can convert Marawi and Lake Lanao and all the other areas around Lake Lanao, like some cities in Europe and other parts of the world, as tourism attractions,” he added.

But Hustisya’s Hernandez said the bombings and attacks on Marawi led by the government security forces “should be put to a stop now.”

“They are talking about rehabilitating Marawi while they continue to bomb the city. It exposed their lack of empathy on the plight and situation of the people,” she said.

“Duterte’s token apology is unacceptable. It is an admission of error on the part of the president which could have prevented the damage inflicted upon the city and its people. His declaration of martial law exacerbated their plight as the AFP took it as an excuse to launch unmitigated bombardment of the city,” Hernandez added.

More than 400,000 people have been internally displaced because of the situation in Marawi, according to
the Department of Social Work and Development.

”The centuries-old conflict in Mindanao is caused by the continued denial and marginalization of the Moro people’s rights. We stand in solidarity with the people of Mindanao who assert their right to self-determination, and call to an end to Duterte’s martial law in the land,” Hernandez said. (

comments powered by Disqus