IF the rehabilitation of Marawi was not mentioned in the SONA (State of the Nation Address), does this mean it will not be given priority?”
This was the question posed by Anak Mindanao (AMIN) party-list Rep. Amihilda Sangcopan as she expressed disappointment over the lack of
specific developmental commitment from President Rodrigo Duterte on the continued rehabilitation of Marawi City in last Monday’s State of the Nation Address (SONA).
Sangcopan said that although the government’s plan for the rehabilitation of Marawi was laid out with a comprehensive plan and strategy for implementation, many Moro locals voiced disappointment that it was not even mentioned yesterday, or anything substantial for the Bangsamoro region.
“We were anticipating and hopeful, especially when the President spoke about infrastructure revolution through its ‘Build, Build, Build’
Program. We waited for him to make any pronouncement that will somehow hasten infrastructure development in Marawi, but there was nothing,” said the lawmaker.
“The people of Marawi are languishing in this pandemic, too. And their suffering is aggravated by the fact that they cannot even go home
because rehabilitation in Marawi has been slow, three years after that fated siege. Aid is now harder to come by, and quarantine rules make it harder for them to live normal lives,” she added.
Sangcopan said the 2017 Marawi Siege had just marked its third anniversary in May, but more than 17,000 residents are still living in temporary shelters while others are cohabiting with relatives in different parts of Mindanao.
“Quarantine rules demand that you stay home to address the COVID-19 pandemic, but for the people of Marawi, they still do not have homes
to return to. Is Marawi City not part of the Build, Build, Build Program? Are the displaced people of the city not part of the Recover As One Act? Marawi is still on its knees; it should now be prioritized especially during this pandemic,” the Mindanao lady solon noted.
Sangcopan also made her position and that of her partylist organization on the death penalty clear: it is a resounding “NO.”
“In recent years, this country had seen too many deaths in its war against drugs, mostly in the hands of those who are supposed to
maintain peace and give protection to citizens. This kind of ‘death penalty’ meted out by law enforcement has traumatized our communities long enough,” she lamented.
“And I believe that legalizing the death penalty will not achieve the objective of getting drugs off our streets or bringing down the crime rate in our neighborhoods. Many studies back that principle,” she further explained.
Sangcopan also stressed that the death penalty goes against the very essence of the Sharia or the preservation of life. Sharia is a religious law that governs Islamic traditions and day-to-day life.
“The Sharia is very clear: Forgiveness, mercy and compassion must always prevail, no matter what the circumstances are. Sa aming paniniwala, it is the family who decides whether or not death is the justice they want, not the courts, not the State. Ang isang pag-‘hindi’ lamang po sa 99 na ‘oo,’ ay sapat na upang hindi matuloy ang imposition ng kamatayan o pagbitay,” she stated.
I Sangcopan stressed that she would rather use her voice as a Muslim legislator to actively campaign for peace and the implementation of a more humane and alternative sanctions on drug-related crimes.
“Let us be a government that calls for the preservation of life, one that seeks a fair, humane treatment of those accused of crimes. Wala sa ating mga kamay ang paghuhusga upang kumitil ng buhay,” she said.