RESIDENTS from war-torn Marawi City who are temporarily staying in Tacloban City have expressed their appreciation to village officials for their hospitality and help in putting a stop to the intimidation they had experienced.
Farhana Jamel, 26, said that without the help of local officials, they would still be experiencing discrimination and bullying from residents, although they understand why some people mistreated them when they first arrived in Tacloban.
Jamel, along with 15 other evacuees from Marawi City, arrived in Tacloban last June 2. A relative, living in the city, invited them to come and stay while waiting for the end of the more than two-month conflict in Marawi.
“During our first few days here, we were bullied. Some people call us Maute,” Jamel said.
To avoid confrontations, they did not fight back, but instead they reported the harassment to village officials.
“After we informed the officials about the bullying, they spoke with the residents and now they have come to accept and interact with us,” Jamel added.
Wilma Almeria, a council member of Sagkahan district, said they called the attention of the people in their community and asked them to be nice to the evacuees.
“We told the residents that the village officials have already taken precautionary measures that if in case the evacuees will do something unlawful, we can easily trace them because we have their profiles,” Almeria said.
Village officials also asked the teachers of Sagkahan Elementary School and Sagkahan National High School to help stop bullying of evacuees inside the campuses.
Marawi evacuees are also facing another problem, as the owner of the abandoned house where they are taking shelter asked them to vacate the place.
Local officials opened the doors of their village legislative building as temporary shelter. Village chairperson Rosita Luyten asked the City Government to repair the building’s roof, install electricity, and provide water supply.
Mayor Cristina Romualdez gave the assurance to provide the evacuees their basic needs and ensure their safety.
Private individuals, non-government organizations, the departments of Social Welfare and Development, and Environment and Natural Resources also extended assistance to the evacuees.
Residents also gave foods, health kits, mats, and clothes.
Although they are well taken care of in the city, evacuees said they cannot rely and wait on assistance given to them. They hope to find work while staying in Tacloban.
“I have four children including a baby with me. We are 16 here in this house. For us to survive, we must work and not just rely on the assistance that people give to us,” said Jamel.
The City Government asked evacuees to submit application letters and credentials to the Public Employment Service Office to match them with the available local job openings.
“I hope that they can find work immediately. But more importantly, we hope that the conflict in Marawi will be over soon so we can go back to our place and start rebuilding our shattered lives,” Jamel added. (PNA)