Aid abounds despite twister


    MARAWI City, still recovering from the siege that leveled a huge part of the city’s urban area in May, 2017, was struck by a devastating tornado on Monday. The powerful twister ripped through five barangays, damaging several homes, government buildings such as the Sangguniang Panlungsod, and a hospital.

    The tornado visited at a time when Mindanao itself was reeling under the weight of a series of earthquakes that wreaked havoc on wide swathes of land in Cotabato, Davao del Sur and Davao City.

    When the vortex of violently rotating winds hit City Hall, Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra was presiding over his usual Monday meeting with his department heads. They were talking about the details of the city government’s assistance to be delivered quickly to quake victims in Kidapawan and Cotabato.

    The Marawi officials’ first moves are in the mold of self-preservation, as the city’s disaster response officials immediately assessed the damage brought about by the tornado. They placed the property losses at P700,000 while no lives were lost.

    It warms the heart to note that while Marawi City itself was struck by disaster after disaster, both man-made and natural, its officials are still open to helping other Mindanaoans who are presently grappling with their own crises. They still rushed relief goods and other assistance to residents in Mindanao whose needs are definitely more pressing.

    Speaking of Marawi, President Duterte should now take to task the Task Force in charge of rehabilitation, especially because it seems it is taking them forever to provide the needed housing for the victims of the ISIS-inspired siege two and a half years ago.

    Imagine that in May 2018, exactly a year after the Islamist attack on Marawi, the Task Force Bangon Marawi admitted it had yet to finalize its plans to reconstruct the war-town city. They also reported that the housing units to be built were not enough for the displaced Marawi residents.

    President Duterte had been very accommodating in helping the Marawi folks. He even asked the Commission on Audit to go easy on the issue of disallowances in connection with the use of the P5 million fund for housing for religious purposes, which is patently illegal.

    Duterte said that the Islamic pilgrimage Hajj is more important to Muslims than government housing efforts. This may be true but it still does not absolve officers of responsibility for diverting funds from an official purpose to an unofficial one.

    Well, these developments continue to prove that tragedy brings out the best and the worst from us.