Marawi IDPs lobby for the rehabilitation of their land and reconstruction of their homes
Representatives of internally displaced people from Marawi attended a Senate hearing in Manila on the rehabilitation and reparation for the civilians affected by the fighting between the government forces and ISIS-inspired Maute Group that lasted for five months.
IDP leader Queenie Pacalundo – Mamacotamo said that the situation of families living in temporary shelters is deplorable, as she spoke during the hearing presided by Sen. JV Ejercito on February 20. She added that their dire situation was aggravated when Typhoon Vinta lashed out at their make shift dwellings last December.
“I am currently living in a temporary shelter and I can attest that the condition of the area is dismal. During typhoon Vinta, an elderly had an accident because it was really muddy. Some civilians were able to catch snakes in the area. It was really heart wrenching to see my brothers and sisters and our children experience this inhumane condition” said Pacalundo - Mamacotamo.
Sultan Abdul Attar, an esteemed leader in Marawi, shared Subcommittee on Marawi Rehabilitation and Reconstruction that they want to go back to their homes and rehabilitate their communities according to their way of life. He said that their homes should not be flattened to the ground because it is where their Islamic faith was established and their traditional values and roots are found.
Another IDP leader, Insanoray Amerol-Macapaar, also shared her frustrations over the relief packs being distributed and the cash assistance that allegedly has not been given to majority of families affected by the conflict from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
“They were giving us relief packs that they have been giving since the conflict broke out. We want them to stop giving us relief packs and give us the cash assistance instead. Right now they were only giving cash assistance to those who were able to return to Marawi. How about IDPs like me who have my house bombed by airstrikes in ground zero? I have nothing left to return to” she added.
Data from the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center show that there were 466,000 people who have been displaced in the Philippines in the first half of 2017. Around 300,000 were driven away by the fighting in Marawi City and surrounding regions.
Those who came for the lobby mission were affected by the conflict which lasted for five months in Marawi City and has left 11,000 homes and buildings destroyed. Due to this conflict, President Rodrigo Duterte has put the whole Mindanao under martial law. The crisis in Marawi ended in October 2017. The Congress, however, extended martial law in Mindanao until the end of 2018.
Balay Rehabilitation Center has been lobbying for the IDP Bill to promote the protection and rights of IDPs affected by armed conflict and natural disasters. It has facilitated the meetings of the IDP leaders during their lobby mission in Manila.