The reconstruction of the historic Dansalan Bato Ali Mosque, one of the oldest masjids (Arabic for mosque) in Marawi City’s most affected area (MAA) or the so-called “Ground Zero”, provides new hope for all Maranaos.

This was declared Sultan Nasser Sampaco, chairman of the Marawi Sultanate League, after the ceremonial ritual for the reconstruction of the mosque on July 16, 2020, attended by Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) Chairman Secretary Eduardo Del Rosario.

Sultan Sampaco expressed gratitude to President Rodrigo Duterte and Secretary Del Rosario for their support to the sultanate which is composed of 23 clans acting as administrators of the Dansalan Bato Ali Mosque.

“We thank President Duterte for his unwavering support. We are also grateful to Secretary Del Rosario for his selfless service to our sister and brother Maranaos,” Samapco said.

The mosque, taken over by the Daesh-inspired terrorist led by Isnilon Hapilon at the height of the five-month siege in 2017, was among the oldest and well-known places of Islamic worship not only in Mindanao but in the entire country, according to Sultan Sampaco. It was where Catholic priest Fr. Chito Suganob and 20 other hostages were kept by the terrorists to avoid government offensive.

“As they say ‘when something bad happens, something better would come’ and this is it. We will have a new Dansalan Bato Ali Mosque,” Sampaco said.

According to Sec. Del Rosario, the TFBM allotted P105 million for the reconstruction of Dansalan Bato Mosque which was assessed to be “structurally unsound” after the siege.

“We have already secured donations for the reconstruction of the Dansalan Bato Mosque. There are 31 mosques within MAA and we intend to rehabilitate all of them,” Del Rosario said.

Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra, on the other hand, called on his constituents to continue supporting the government in hastening the city’s rebuilding process.

“While we are rebuilding public infrastructure, wag nating kalimutan na ipatayo ang ating mga nasirang mosque dahil ito ay napaka-importante sa atin,” Gandamra said.

TFBM Field Office Manager Assistant Secretary Felix Castro Jr. said that several private companies had expressed willingness in helping the Task Force repair other mosques damaged or destroyed during the siege.

On July 16, 2020, Sec. Del Rosario led the groundbreaking for the P8. 9-million Marawi City Central Fire Station, as well as a four-story school building with 20 classrooms in Barangay Mancado Kadingilan, inside MAA.

The project is the first of 10 school buildings with 20 classrooms each to be jointly constructed by the Department of Education and the Department of Public Works and Highways.

The TFBM chairman described the school’s launch as “very important” in shaping the future of the only Islamic City in the country as it will produce the future leaders not only of Marawi but outside the war-torn city.

“This is most important because we shape knowledge and values of the youth to become productive citizens,” Del Rosario said.

Del Rosario lauded the efforts and sacrifices of teachers, not only in Marawi but also nationwide, in providing quality education to the youth.

Del Rosario reiterated that the TFBM is on target to complete the massive rehabilitation by December 2021.