Ilocos Norte raises P1.3-M aid for Marawi school rehab

LAOAG CITY—The Matampay school in Marawi City has been chosen as the latest recipient of a PHP1.3 million donation officials and residents here raised during the November 25 thanksgiving celebration of newlyweds, Michael Ferdinand Marcos Manotoc and Carina Amelia Gamboa Manglapus, the grandchildren of two previously warring political families during the Marcos regime.

Ilocos Norte Governor Ma. Imelda Josefa Marcos said the amount has already been handed to her by her son Michael on Monday, ready to be turned over to the Marawi school the soonest.

The couple’s traditional “bitor’ generated the amount from family members and friends symbolizing prosperity but Carina and Michael agreed to donate the money to Marawi, which was recently liberated from Islamic State-inspired Maute and Abu Sayaff groups.

Bitor is one of the highlights of an Ilocano wedding ritual where guests or visitors give cash to the newlyweds. The gifts to the bride and groom are given and counted separately to determine the economic capability of both families. After counting, the money is handed to the groom who hands it over to his wife for safekeeping.

According to the Marcos family, the Matampay school, built during the time of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, was among the heavily damaged schools during the Marawi City siege.

In a report from the Department of Education, the clashes destroyed school structures and facilities in Marawi affecting more than 62,000 students in public and private schools, as well as in state universities and colleges.

The Marawi conflict ended after 154 days of intense fighting between government forces and the heavily armed Maute, leaving over a hundred soldiers, 47 civilians and around 800 terrorists dead as well as 500,000 people displaced.

On October 17, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte declared Marawi liberated from the terrorists after Omar Maute and Isnilon Hapilon — considered the top leaders of the Maute group — were killed by government forces.