“What happened to our dead and missing?” asked Sittie Joharah Pacalundo of Sowara o Miyamagoyag, Voice of the Marawi Internally Displaced Peoples (IDPs), during the National Conversation: ‘Promoting the Wellbeing of the Internally Displaced Persons in Marawi Conflict Affected Areas’ held April 25, 2018 in Manila.

Pacalundo’s concern is only one among the many questions the IDP groups brought to the conversation. The people of Marawi have been hit by two disasters in 2017. The conflict first broke out in May; then in December, Typhoon Vinta displaced and victimised the survivors of the siege the second time.

“Some of the IDPs died in the siege. Some died during Typhoon Vinta…The tents provided to the IDPs were not appropriate,” Pacalundo said.

The Marawi conflict in May 2017 has displaced more than 353,000 people. Almost a year after the siege, IDPs living in evacuation centers, home-based settings and even those in transitional shelters are still in need of humanitarian assistance.

Even as food assistance has come to their aid, “a lot of areas are still without help,” Pacalundo shared to some 80 representatives of donor and humanitarian agencies, INGOs, NGOs and CSOs present during the forum. The forum discussed how 80% of the evacuees are home based. Most assistance are given to internally displaced people (IDP) in evacuation centers.

The Voice of Marawi IDPs and the Bangon Marawi CSO Platform presented their six-point recommendation to the government. These were gathered from series of processes facilitated by Bangon Marawi CSO platform. Since January 2018, these recommendations were being presented up to the senate level and across national agencies involved in Marawi response and rehabilitation.

The recommendations were in terms of providing support for:

  • An enabling and dignified survival of the IDPs including monthly cash assistance, access to health, medical and psycho-social services, access to education of IDP children and youth, access to government assistance while displaced and still in the recovery phase;
  • Just repatriation and compensation for damages, conduct of actual damage needs assessment with owner of the properties and just compensation and reparation;
  • Livelihood recovery and access to employment;
  • Options for shelter and prioritise the most vulnerable, with support packages based on needs and preferences;
  • Facilitating a peace enabling and sustainable rehabilitation of Marawi that ensures people’s participation and transparent, accountable and culturally appropriate planning process;
  • Recognising ancestral land ownership of the Maranaos, enabling institutionalised land dispute resolutions, and once declared safe and cleared, ensure safe return of the IDPs to the ground zero area.

Voice of Marawi IDPs represents more than 12,000 households across Lanao del Sur, Lanao del Norte and Misamis Oriental including Cagayan de Oro and Iligan cities. Bangon Marawi CSO platform is the largest gathering of NGOs, traditional leaders, people’s organizations, and civic-minded communities.

“The government is making an effort to listen,” Ilagan assured the participants during the consultation.

Ilagan and the government’s Task Force Bangon Marawi Avelino Tolentino, Head Secretariat shared what the government is doing within and outside the Task Force in terms of housing, construction, social welfare, health, and peace and order. Ilagan and Tolentino acknowledged that “Conversations will be difficult but we have to sit down and find solutions…”

Within these discussions, IDEALS launched the Management of the Dead and Missing (MDM) Module and the Access to Benefits and Claims after Disaster (ABCD) Primer volume 2. These materials are now available online on Kaya Connect Philippines here.

The MDM module provides relevant information to responders, the bereaved families, and vulnerable communities on MDM response. Topics include: the organisational structure of the cluster, how organisations coordinate, and the applicable laws that can provide protection to the dead and missing disaster victims and survivors.

The expanded ABCD Primer is a compilation of the latest information on requirements, steps, and eligibilities in accessing available benefits and claims from 15 government agencies that play strategic roles in Disaster Risk Reduction.

Disaster-affected Local Government Units officials and duty bearers are guided on the standards in delivering needed response and services. Affected individuals are made aware of their rights and benefits available to them.

The publication and module is brought to you by IDEALS, Inc. These are part of IDEALS’ Project VITALS or Disaster Victim Identification through Training and Learning Support funded by the Humanitarian Leadership Academy Philippines. Christian Aid, the Humanitarian Response Consortium and The Asia Foundation also provided support to the develop and print the Primer.

The ABCD Primer, along with other programs of information dissemination of IDEALS such as S’bang Ka Marawi radio program, helped disseminate news and information to survivors of the conflict, where to go and what benefit and support they can access.

The National Conversations convened IDP leaders, government institutions, local and international NGOs to discuss the current situation of Marawi. The forum was organized by IDEALS and the Philippine Disaster Response Network, with support from Oxfam.

For details of the recommendations, please contact Bangon Marawi CSO Platform bm.cso.platform@gmail.com.

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