MARAWI CITY (MindaNews / 25 October) – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will establish a 24/7 presence here to work on “the other Ground Zero — the hearts and minds of the evacuees,” Acting Social Welfare Secretary Emmanuel Leyco said.
While other government agencies are building transitional shelters, the DSWD will “rebuild the social communities,” Leyco told a press briefing at the Provincial Capitol on Wednesday, two days after Defense Secreary Delfin Lorenzana announced the termination of all combat operations here on Day 154 of the siege.
“They’re looking at Ground Zero in terms of physical area. We’re talking of Ground Zero in terms of the hearts and minds of the evacuees,” Leyco said.
“Titingan po namin ano ang pangangailangan ngayon ng mga mamamayan na nakaranas ng digmaan. Ano ba ang nawala sa kanila? Nawalan ba sila ng tiwala? Nawalan ba sila ng tiwala sa kanilang kapwa? Nawalan ba sila ng tiwala sa sarili? Nawalan ba sila ng tiwala sa pamahalaan? Yun po gustong ibalik natin sa kanila. Tutulungan po natin sila” (We will look at what the residents displaced by war need. What did they lose? Did they lose trust? Did they lose trust in their fellowmen? In themselves? In government? That’s what we want to return to them. We will help them), he said.
He repeatedly assured that the needs of returning residents, those still in evacuation centers, and those who sought refuge in relatives’ houses, will be attended to.
According to Leyco, existing DSWD programs such as Conditional Cash Transfers (CCT), cash for work, food for work, sustainable livelihood programs, supplemental feeding programs – will be “customized” to suit the needs of post-conflict Marawi.
He said conditionalities attached to the CCT — attendance in school, visiting the health centers and family development sessions — will be suspended until end of December as schools and clinics in some areas may not be operational yet.
Sustainable livelihood programs, he vowed, will be “customized based on what is viable” while supplemental feeding programs will be brought to the communities as they return to Marawi.
First batch of returnees
The first batch of evacuees – 6,469 families from nine barangays outside the war zone — will return here between October 29 and November 2: October 29 in Basak Malutlut; Oct. 30 in Marawi poblacion and East Basak; Oct. 31 in Loksadato and Green; November 1 in Matampay and Tampilong; and Datu Saber and Panggao Saduc on November 2.
Each returning family will be given a sack of rice each, relief goods good for 18 days and cash for work for 30 days, Leyco announced.
Bai Zorahayda Taha, DSWD Region 12 Director of the DSWD and focal person for Marawi said returning families will also be given the balance of the P5,000 assistance that President Rodrigo Duterte promised evacuees on June 20 when they return to Marawi. Each evacuee family was supposed to receive P1,000 for Eid’l Fitr and the remaining P4,000 on their return to Marawi.
Taha said those who did not receive P1,000 for Eid’l Fitr will receive the total of P5,000.
Leyco said distribution of food packs will continue in the evacuation centers and for the home-based “until they return to Marawi and even when they return to Marawi, social services will be provided by DSWD.”
Taha vowed no evacuee will go hungry. “Wala po kaming gustong IDP (internally displaced person or evacuee) na magugutom. Please let us know po kung may nagugutom” (We do not want any IDP to go hungry. Please let us know if someone is hungry), she said.
A total of 77,175 families or 353,626 persons were displaced by the armed conflict in Marawi and neighboring towns, based on the Disaster Assistance Family Access Cards. Of this number, Marawi Mayor Majul Gandamra said around 40,000 families in Marawi – or around 200,000 — were displaced.
The displaced residents, according to the family access cards, fled to at least nine regions in the country, six of them in Mindanao.
Leyco said a total of 470.7 million pesos has been allotted for cash for work program for one month and will be sustained “hanggang kailangan po ng mga pamilya” (until the families need it).
He noted that continuing relief assistance has reached 3.3 billion pesos but additional 3 billion pesos is needed until yearend.
He said the DSWD office in Marawi will make daily assessments so adjustments can be made, depending on what is needed.
He said Taha will be focal person for Marawi while DSWD Undersecretary Luz Ilagan will be focal person for Mindanao. (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)