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Marawi City IDP Leaders Decried Militarization and Urge Passage into Law of BBL

Posted on 04 January 2018 by cbcs_mike

Prominent Internally Displaced Person (IDP) leaders of the Marawi City carnage mostly women after narrating their different heartbreaking experiences, suffering and anxieties ended with a synchronized assertion for demilitarization of Marawi City and instead work for the immediate passage into law of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission’s (BTC) drafted Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), now filed in the House of Representatives as HB6475. They further, emphasized that the passage into law of the BBL and eventually the implementation of Islamic laws are the only ultimate solution, so that the Marawi Crisis will not be repeated again as well as in all other conflict-affected areas in Mindanao.

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The different stories was told during the activity called “Listening Process” with IDP Community Leaders held at the Ayala Resort, Mindanao State University, Marawi City last December 19, 2017 sponsored by the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS) base in Cotabato City, headed by its Chairperson Mr. Guiamel Alim.

The burst of emotions came after an overview was given by Mike Kulat, Senior Program Officer of CBCS stressing that: “the process maybe new to some but necessary in order to document the actual experiences and sufferings of the victims of war”. Reminding that for the last two decades of lingering armed conflicts in the Moro dominated areas, there were occurring wars at least every two years and there were no concrete documentation on them.

In the past, what where counted were numbers of massive displacements, numbers of killed on both sides of protagonists, captured war materials including civilian lives in some cases. On this the Marawi Crisis, victims are lucky enough as there were much talks of “Marawi Recovery Programs” manifested by the existence of “Bangon Marawi Groups, a ten billion pesos President’s commitment and many others. Nevertheless, the usual recovery programs deals on; Buiding economy and businesses establish schools, rebuild hospitals and infrastructures. So the question is: Can these physical reconstruction and recovery fixed and remedy the root-cause of the problem? Can it cure traumatic and mental anguish due to lost of kit and kin? What about destruction of relationships, social dislocation and political disintegration? He added that these were the importance of the listening Process and from the victims’ perspective, documents their perceived alternative solutions and recommendation in order to avoid repetition of the same traumatic experiences not only in Marawi City but in the whole of Mindanao.

One unique story of a sudden war in Marawi was revealed by a Christian teacher happened to be trapped by the war while on seminar at the Noramis Convention Hall in Lilod Madaya. She disclosed that prior to the May 23 start of war, there were already talks of armed group’s threats of occupying Marawi City but disregarded by many including her. Even on the following day as sporadic firings were heard in Amai Pakpak Hospital and Dansalan College, she thought it was a simple rido as usual and will subside soon after authorities intervened.

A day after,” the burst of firings became intense until the first time I saw Omar (Maute) with a Yakan speaking fellow” she started. And continued: “She commanded all of us to go down of the hall, counted us and ask some questions. Then he ordered us to stay intact and come back to us later and then left for supervision of their troops.” And added that: “This was the time that the first thing that came into my mind was the Zamboanga Siege” and fear and anxiety, she stressed. After they left, the trapped groups were able to contact with Barangay Officials who instructed them to leave the place immediately towards Amai Pakpak Hospital before the armed men go back.

However, before we reached the place, “we met several patients escaping and told us that the hospital was already occupied by the Maute-ISIS groups”. So they redirected their route towards Matampay. Upon reaching the place, the teacher went back to Noramis since a number of her fellow Christians were left in the area who were new in Marawi that came from the municipalities of Bumbaran and Wa-o and do not know what to do.

When she delivered her fellow Christians to safer place only then she remembered to look for her seven month old baby left with her family. On the occasion of escaping she had to climbed to the closed gate of the Noramis in order to enter several times. At one time he met an escaping man and cried for help and she said: “this was the first time I saw how a man cries in times of severe crisis.”

Many different but similar stories were told of war experiences but were all ended up in taking the Marawi incident as hard lessons for self-reformation and transformation. However, the matter could only be effective and sustained by complementary structural mechanism through passage into law of the BTC darted BBL and returning back to Islam as a guiding principle in the day-to-day lives of not only the Maranaws but the Bangsamoro people as a whole.

Johary Ditucalan Ayo
CBCS Area Coordinator for Lanao

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