US gives additional PhP 296.2 M to assist women and households in Marawi  

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 24 June) — TheU.S. Embassy in the Philippines is giving additional  USD 5.5 million (PhP 296.2-M) additional assistance for Marawi City, bringing to 31,95 million dollars or  1.7 billion pesos the total US government contribution to humanitarian and recovery work in and around Marawi, Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) Michael Klecheski said.

A press release from the US Embassy quoted Klecheski as saying the additional assistance, delivered through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID),  will promote the role and inclusion of women in the recovery and rehabilitation of Marawi as well as support ongoing humanitarian assistance work in and around the country’s lone Islamic city.

Residents search for items they could salvage from what remains of their house in Marawi’s Ground Zero or Most Affected Area (MAA) on April 5, 2018, under the Kambisita sa MAA project of the city government of Marawi and Task Force Bangon Marawi. Kambisita allows Ground Zero residents to visit their homes – or what remains of them – for three days from April 1 to May 10.
But they will be able to return and rebuild their homes only on the first quarter of 2020. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO

At least 90 per cent of the city’s estimated 210,000 population fled their villages in May last year when members of the Islamic State-inspired Maute Group and its allies laid siege on the city after a failed attempt by authorities to arrest Isnilon Hapilon, leader of the Abu Sayyaf and proclaimed Emir of the IS in Southeast Asia.

President Rodrigo Duterte declared Marawi “liberated from the terrorist influence”  on October 17, a day after Hapilon and Maute Group leader Omarkhayam Maute were killed. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana terminated all combat operations in Marawi City on October 23, 2017, exactly five months to the day the fighting began.

In partnership with local governments and organizations, USAID will work with diverse groups of women to promote community dialogue and encourage civic engagement. It will also work to counter gender-based violence and trafficking in persons, and to help displaced girls return to school.

Klecheski underscored the important role women pay in building peace and security.

The press release noted that women have been “disproportionately impacted by the conflict in Marawi, including by psychological trauma, reduced mobility, and diminished participation in civic activities.”

From the additional assistance, Php136.1-M ($2.55 million) will respond to the needs of displaced persons, particularly women and girls, promote the leadership of women and girls in fostering peacebuilding and alternatives to violent extremism, as well as integrate gender into recovery and rehabilitation work.

The remaining Php160.1-M ($3 million) will be used to restore livelihoods through training and recovery grants to help more than 7,800 displaced families as well as provide water and sanitation for more than 10,000 displaced households inside and around Marawi City.  (MindaNews)