In the following article, the writer recounts the real-life ordeal of the victims of war in Mindanao, some of whom are presently receiving psychosocial care and rehabilitation from Balay. As head of the Disaster Response Team in Pikit, North Cotabato, Fr. Bert is a charismatic advocate of "Space for Peace" and inter-religious dialogue. He presented this "personal sharing" during the Panday Kalinaw (Peace Conference) held during the Human Rights Day Celebration in Miriam College on December 10, 2001.
Mindanao to many is the land of the wild. To me, it is my home. Mindanao is dear to me. It is my homeland. With the land area of approximately 10.2 million hectares, it is three times larger than Belgium, twice larger than Switzerland, and Fifteen times bigger than Singapore. It is the home of three diverse people-the Lumads, the Moro, and the Christian settlers.
The family is a critical support system to human beings before, during and after stressful events. It is but normal those members of the family system and are also affected, sometimes even more than the victim him/herself. The whole system "changes" with the victim's traumatization. The routine in the house, the family structure, communication patterns, including schedules are affected because of the inclusive effect of a traumatic event in the family.
Addul is 34 years old; married with four children, two boys and two girls is from Bgy. Tabuk, Isabela City, Basilan. He finished only second year in college but he worked as a lineman at a local electric cooperative for close to ten years. Addul's wife, Miriam is an elementary teacher by profession having graduated with a degree in elementary education. They are both Muslims belonging to the Yakan tribe who are predominant in Basilan.
Miriam had been very supportive to him. Her job as a teacher is stable and though Addul had to help his own family [he still supports his siblings to school], their children continued going to school and there was not much disruptions and they were able to make ends meet.
The concept and practice of psychosocial intervention have gained attention in a number of relief agencies, humanitarian organizations and development-oriented service providers with the resurgence of armed hostilities in Mindanao. Trauma, debriefing, defusing, counseling, therapy and other terms and approaches usually employed by mental health professionals, social workers and community counselors have became new buzzwords. Some of these found their way to the language of a number of survivors of war who have recovered from trauma through the intervention of caregivers and counselors. However, a lot remains to be done to make clear what psychosocial rehabilitation is, and to bring it to the mainstream of responding to the rights and welfare of survivors of armed conflict and internal displacement.