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Rise Marawi, Rise!

Finally, the siege in Marawi has ended and the city has been declared liberated from the terrorist group.
During the quite long months of the siege, the people of Marawi have suffered tragically and painfully. They are now displaced, hungry, wounded, frightened and stressed physically and emotionally.
Somehow we are happy for this good news believing there will be no more lives lost among the government troops and civilians, especially innocent children. We see our soldiers’ happy smiles, as after long months of battle, saving as many lives as they could, especially the hostages, all of who have finally been released.
Yes, we rejoice with our military, marines and other government troops who have gone home safe and sound. But we grieve with those families whose loved ones will never return, even if we wait forever.
We understand that every time they go out in the battle field, they fight as if it is their last. They gave all their strength. They bravely faced the danger of their lives for the sake of love of country and service. Their hard work, sacrifices, bravery and heroism are honourable.
Their hardships in the war zone are indeed our strength and inspiration too. They remind us that no matter how tough the battle of life maybe, we need to face and deal with it with courage and faith.
We also remember our dead heroes who selflessly laid down their lives in the name of love. They indeed have fought the good fight protecting and serving their country people to their last breath. May they all find peace in the kingdom of God.
The traumatic experience of the people cannot be forgotten overnight. Recovery is a long process, as is rebuilding what was destroyed in the terrible devastation. We see the shattered homes and buildings like empty tombs, leaving us feeling as though it is no less than a ghost city.
Surely, rehabilitation is hard for the people of Marawi, but we believe and have strong hopes that God is by their side. God sees their pain and suffering. We will help them stand and rise above their suffering for tomorrow is another day to live.

• Lynn Salinas
The Philippines