Thursday, June 29, 2017

WATCH: Senator Gordon wants Marawi turned into tourism hub

June 29, 2017

MANILA - Sen. Richard Gordon on Wednesday proposed turning conflict-stricken Marawi City into a tourism hub, saying this would not only boost people's morale but also create profit for the Maranaos.

The lawmaker said this just as the government vowed to undertake rehabilitation efforts once clashes between state troops and Islamic State-linked terror groups in the city end. The fighting is now into its second month.

Firefights have left parts of the city in ruins.

"It’s easier said than done, but right now, in as much as there are lots of shambles there, it is good for the people to know that they enjoy in the morning afterwards, that there is something to hope for," he told ANC's Headstart.

Gordon, a former tourism secretary, said this project could be "easily done if you want to do it" because Lake Lanao, situated beside Marawi, is "one of the most beautiful lakes in the world."

He said he envisioned the place being like the French Riviera, but with a "Maranao flavor."

"We can put Maranao villages, we can put Torogan houses, you can put towns of villages there and there’ll be plenty of trading. You can have vintas flying over there, you can have yachts out there, you can have vacation houses over there and the Marawi people will profit from that. Maranaos are businessmen," he said.

"The Moro culture is a lot, lot more resplendent than the Tagalog culture or the Pampango culture—their costumes, their jewelry, their ways are more pronounced maybe because of the Islamic influence," he added.

Once a flourishing commercial hub, Marawi, the capital of Lanao del Sur, is now a battle ground as government forces pursued offensives to flush out terrorists that launched attacks on May 23.

The clashes prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to place the entire Mindanao under martial law and suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, allowing warrantless arrests.

On Tuesday, Duterte vowed to help Marawi rise again. The government has allocated an initial fund of P5 billion for the city's rehabilitation.

As of 6 p.m. Tuesday, government placed the death toll in the clashes at 397, among them 299 terror suspects, 71 government troops and 27 civilians.





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