TACLOBAN CITY-- A group of Super Typhoon Yolanda survivors and leaders of internally displaced persons (IDPs) on Thursday, April 5, expressed concern over the government rehabilitation program in war-torn Marawi City.
“We see several parallelisms between the approach to rehabilitation in Yolanda-affected communities and that to Marawi -- the disregard for survivors' rights, lands, and participation in the whole rehabilitation process,” said Tin Domdom, advocacy and campaigns associate of Community of Yolanda Survivors and Partners (CYSP).
Domdom’s reactions came after their dialogue with IDP leaders and evacuees of Marawi dubbed as “Two Tragedies. Together” on April 3 at Mindanao State University main campus in Marawi.
“President Rodrigo Duterte promised change will come during his administration. Duterte also claimed Maranaw blood runs through his veins. If all these are true, prove it to the people of Marawi that they may not experience the same disappointments that Yolanda survivors still struggle with four years after the storm,” she told SunStar in an interview.
Tessie Elacion, president of Balangiga Municipal Unsafe Zone Federation in Eastern Samar, hoped that the mistakes in Yolanda rehabilitation will not happen in Marawi.
The 56-year-old Yolanda survivor, who also went to Marawi to join in the dialogue, said that consultation and respect of the IDPs are important in the rehabilitation process.
Meanwhile, Marawi IDP leader Adel Ditucalan of Bangsamoro Civil Society Organization Platform belied government reports that they were being consulted.
“They say they did a consultation to local government units. But no way can we say that these local government units represent us. [They do not] give us room, we weren’t invited to these meetings. We believe that we should be heard, IDPs specially,” Ditucalan said.
She opposed on what she called as “westernized concept of development” in Marawi along with the proposed establishment of ecozone and a 10-hectare military camp.
“We stick with Islamic development and Maranaw culture of development,” Ditucalan said.
Padoman Paporo of Ranao Multi-sectoral Movement, along with other IDP leaders in the dialogue, expressed dismay over government’s lack of a “culturally-sensitive humanitarian response, and lack of support for livelihood recovery.”
The government rehabilitation does not factor in conflict-induced disasters, they said in a statement.
According to the leaders, the IDPs “had received humanitarian support only in the first three months since the war, and are now forced to live in temporary shelters with very little resources and barely any livelihood support.”
They also reported on the “dehumanized situation of IDPs at Sagonsongan evacuation center, where people don’t have access to water, and fecal matter goes straight to the nearby river, leaving rancid smell around the community.”
IDP demands include the reparation of damages of the siege, provision of cash assistance and livelihood support, access to health, medical and psycho-social support, education, and accessible government assistance, the statement reads.
Yet they maintained that their more urgent demand from the government is to allow IDP families to return to their homes and rebuild their lives.
“Ang sakit sakit na makita yung No Entry na nakalagay sa ilang meters away lang sa bahay namin…Ang sakit makita ang isang matanda na tanaw na tanaw na niya ang bahay niya, pero hindi siya makapasok,” added Queenie Pacalundo-Mamacotao, IDP leader of Sowara o Mimagoyag (Voice of Marawi IDPs).
“There must be a restoration of confidence and trust and peace building between government and civilians, between IDPs and other parties concerned. Together, we will survive,” added Datu Mino. Ranao Multi-sectoral Movement. (Ronald O. Reyes)