LOCAL government, traditional and sectoral leaders here paid tribute to Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) Chairman Eduardo Del Rosario “for his selfless efforts and genuine commitment” to rebuild the only Islamic City in the country.
In a simple but emotion-filled thanksgiving program held at the City Hall on Thursday, Mayor Majul Gandamra led other Maranaw leaders in expressing their gratitude to the TFBM chief, who is also the secretary of the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD).
“Rebuilding a city from the ground up after a traumatic event is not an easy task to fulfill. The shoes that Secretary Del Rosario had to wear to spearhead every single detail in the city’s rehabilitation is so great that no other person could have done it the way he did it,” Mayor Gandamra said in his speech.
He was emotional as he praised the secretary’s leadership, saying, “And now that we are almost at the end of the road of the city’s rehabilitation, we are nothing but grateful for all the help that he had extended to Marawi City and its people. The task that was put on his shoulders, which was very difficult, has been fulfilled with a remarkable performance.”
The chairman of the Marawi Sultanate League, Sultan Nasser Disomangcop Sampaco, likewise expressed his appreciation of Secretary Del Rosario’s efforts to prioritize the religious infrastructure in the city despite not being from the same religious denomination and cultural background as the majority of Marawi’s citizens.
“Pambihirang opisyal – kahit siya ay hindi Muslim at hindi Maranaw, gumawa siya ng paraan upang makahanap ng mga donor upang maipatayo at maipaayos ang ating mga mosque na nasira sa ground zero. Lahat ito ay dahil nais niyang manatiling malakas ang ating pananampalataya bilang mga Muslim,” he said.
The sultan emphasized his pride in the secretary whom he said was “closer to a blood tie, being our only adopted son in the Marawi Sultanate League.”
“Hindi po sapat ang salitang ‘salamat’ para sa lahat ng nagawa niya para amin, bahagi na siya ng aming history; wherever he is, whatever he is doing, he will always remain in our hearts,” he continued.
Meanwhile, civil society organization Siyap Ko Pagtaw Operations For People Empowerment Inc. Chairman Aslani Cabugatan Montila thanked the housing czar for his support of the Marawi Compensation Bill, which awards compensation to the victims of the armed conflict in the city in 2017.
“Secretary, if we had the power to make you stay as chairman of TFBM, we will do it as a sign of satisfaction with your efforts. Our words are not enough to express our gratitude to you for being the ‘father’ of Marawi City,” Montila said.
Secretary Del Rosario, in his speech, responded to the “outpour” of sentiments from the officials, stressing that “the success of the rehabilitation project was borne out of the collective efforts of everyone involved.”
“Key to the success was the support of the local government unit, the councils, civil society organizations, the local business sector, and the traditional leaders who have constantly inspired me. Despite our differing beliefs and cultures, we became united because of our common objective to revive this war-torn city. We have all done our share in this project, talagang nagpursigi tayo,” he said.
He further enjoined those in the private and public sectors to “never again” allow terror groups to take roots in the city, saying, “Kung mahal natin ang Marawi City at nais natin itong umasenso pa, kailangang magkaisa tayo laban sa mga nagbabanta sa ating kapayapaan.”
Asked what he has planned next as the transition of government looms, Del Rosario assured that “there is nothing to worry about because the budget and documentation, among other matters, will be safely handed over to the implementing agencies.”
He then closed his speech with: “I will never say goodbye because Marawi will remain permanent in my heart.”
Secretary Del Rosario was designated as the TFBM chairman in 2017 in the aftermath of the Marawi siege, which left the once-glorious city in ruins.
He was mandated to spearhead the city’s rehabilitation, recovery, and reconstruction efforts.