We- the civil society organizations working for 400,432 internally displaced persons of Marawi city and Lanao del Sur — are in partnership and in complementation of roles and commitments in upholding the rights of internally displaced peoples albeit the cloak of martial law declared by President Rodrigo Duterte.
We are saddened that in this 44rth day of Marawi Crisis, there are now 84,856 families or 400,432 persons displaced by the armed conflict of which 3,982 families or 18,335 persons are languishing in 78 Evacuation Centers (ECs) while 70,895 home-based internally displaced families or 335,064 persons are tracked in 409 barangays in seven (7) Regions. These number of evacuees are from 96 barangays of Marawi.
We deeply empathize with the evacuees crammed in evacuation centers where 8 children already died of diarrhea per reports and 25 women, accordingly, have suffered post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
That due to the lockdown policy of the Armed Force of the Philippines (AFP) and continuing armed confrontation within the business centers of Marawi, the commercial operations become dysfunctional and made it impossible for 20 other municipalities in Lanao del Sur to have market access on basic necessities. As a consequence of economic depravity, residents of these 20 towns started evacuating too in Iligan city and to adjacent municipalities. Affected towns are Balindong (Wato), Bayang, Binidayan, Buadiposo-Buntong, Bubong, Butig, Calanogas, Ditsaan-Ramain, Ganassi, Kapai, Lumba-Bayabao (Maguing), Lumbatan, Madamba, Madalum, Marantao, Masiu, Mulondo, Poona Bayabao (Gata), Saguiaran, and Tugaya.
We commit ourselves for inclusive, transparent, democratic, and service to IDPs–including the affected communities to preserve and promote civilian protection, respect of human dignity, uphold human rights, social justice, freedom from discrimination, and security.
In the course of our humanitarian intervention with displaced peoples of the Lake, we are able to identify the following humanitarian issues and concerns-
A. On relief goods distribution:
1.There is less humanitarian assistance for home-based evacuees,
2.There is politics in the issuance of DFAC particularly in Lanao del Sur areas.
3.There is duplication of names in the registration;
4.There is a need to provide special attention to special needs for women & children evacuees,
5.There is so much hunger experienced by the underserved home-based IDPs specially in Lanao del Sur and Norte
For these, we specifically-
1.Demand for the immediate release of P1,000 cash assistance soonest to all IDPs and release the remaining P4,000 cash assistance as well.
2.Conduct quick education on IDP rights with the assistance of civil society organizations;
3.CSOs will help facilitate and coordinate with MSWD and barangay officials to enlist undocumented evacuees for the immediate issuance of DFAC cards.
4.Communicate to institutions helping IDP centers for the provision of bathing areas, comfort rooms for women, hygiene kits, and latrines. Provide data where these centers are located.
5.Continue mapping out evacuees in other regions of the country and ask DSWD to help them. Assist in the validation of IDPs’ status as evacuees because most of them left the city without personal references, identification cards, or documents;
6.Ask DSWD to bridge demands from indigents IDPs to release 4Ps cash assistance covering 20 months (Lanao Sur/Marawi case) as soon as possible. The 4Ps cash assistance can help evacuees’ school children needs.
B. To improve the efficiency of the delivery of humanitarian services, we humbly ask the DSWD/OCD/AFP and local authorities to reconsider increasing the validity (by the number of days) of Car Pass permits for humanitarian institution;
C. The lockdown policy in Marawi city enforced by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) due to martial law has negative impacts to neighboring towns and resulted to residents’ decision to evacuate from their areas to increase market access and avail humanitarian assistance. We recognize too the increasing tension between host communities and evacuees due to lack of access to humanitarian supports and discriminatory treatments.
We henceforth plead DSWD to address humanitarian concerns for affected communities in Lanao del Sur to ease the tension due to severe economic wants and to discourage them to evacuate in Iligan or other areas as well. Dialogues should also include matters that will help address discrimination issues.
D. Consistent to the principle of inclusivity, we ask the government to provide spaces for dialogues where participation and representation of internally displaced peoples– including their women, traditional and religious leaders, are heard. We wanted to see stakeholders’ actually taking part in decision-making to chart the rehabilitation and reconstruction of their respective homes and the city. We further ask authorities to be culture sensitive and become advocate of stakeholders’ participation in conflict transformation. We note that Maranao tribe are clannish, homogeneous, and they recognize the importance of imams and traditional leaders in decision-making on Marawi Crisis.
E. Decongest the evacuation centers and residences of host families by allowing evacuees to return to Marawi city, particularly those whose original abode are not damaged by armed conflict. These residents can help temporarily accommodate or adopt relatives. Further, we ask DSWD and the Education Cluster to provide alternative place to stay for those evacuees advised to leave the madrasah and schools as classes begun in Saguiaran, including other towns with similar cases.
F. We ask the Department of Health to deploy human resources or volunteers with expertise on psychiatry and psychology to help existing local institutions engaged in psychosocial healing to address evacuees who have shown post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Reports cited that there are 25 women in evacuation sites with PTSD. We further encourage the Psychology Department of MSU-main campus, those in MSU-IIT and other civil organizations to collaborate and coordinate to sustain psychosocial healing for vulnerable IDPs.
defaultF. We appeal to DOH, PhilHealth, government and private hospitals, barangay health workers, and pharmaceutical industry to provide humanitarian consideration to IDPs health and help address preventable diseases and ailment, specially the elderly, pregnant women, and children. Help save lives; recognize IDP’s indigency.
G. We advocate and demand for the representation of IDP leaders, traditional, religious and CSO in all planning processes and within the structure of the Task Force for Marawi Rehabilitation and Reconstruction. As the situation in evacuation center worsen and the displaced communities increases, the participation, inclusion and decision-making authority of the affected stakeholders’ are more relevant, particularly those who become homeless or whose houses are partially damaged.
The directly affected 14 Maranao clans, whose residential location became war zone, must be enabled as a stakeholders to articulate their needs, opinions, and concerns including those matters relating to relocation sites.
Further, we assert that land-related issues affecting the homeless should be decided with the evacuees.
We commit that results of the consultative process will be communicated to international, national, and local stakeholders or those who are supporting the rehabilitation and reconstruction processes.
H. We demand that the customary policy of the Maranao tribe to bury their dead in accordance to their faith be respected. Prolonging the forensic investigation for classified corpses and depriving the family to bury their kins or relatives is cultural discrimination and a violation of IDP rights. We ask that Imams, as religious leaders, be allowed to claim the dead with the facilitation of the CSOs.
I. In the dialogue with DSWD on July 4 at Iligan city, we appreciate its commitment to shift humanitarian focus to Lanao del Sur evacuees thru coordinated humanitarian mission between Region 10 and ARMM DSWD offices. We recognize its desire to ensure that resources intended for the people will reach the IDPs. We hope that the least or under served home-based evacuees will be prioritized. We expect that DSWD maintains it commitment on equitable distribution of relief assistance regardless of gender, political affiliation, and association of IDPs. After all, its the government obligation to serve all within its capacity and to help coordinate and consider security of humanitarian organizations working with conflict-affected communities.
J. Cognizant of the guiding principles for internally displaced peoples, we demand that government and its agencies exercise authority without forgetting its primary accountability to provide protection and humanitarian assistance for internally displaced persons within their jurisdiction.
In consonance thereto, we reiterate the essence of the guiding principles for the IDPs in the assertion of their rights. Among these are-
IDPs enjoy equally all the rights and freedoms like other persons –with dignity and moral integrity.
Special humanitarian care, assistance, and protection should be accorded for children, unaccompanied minors, expectant mothers, mothers with young children, female heads of household, persons with disabilities and elderly persons.
Competent government authorities shall provide internally displaced persons with and ensure safe access to: (a) essential food and potable water; (b) basic shelter and housing; (c) decent clothing; and (d) essential medical services and sanitation.
Special health care provision should be given to women, children, elderly, the those who are physically, mentally and emotionally affected by conflict situation. This should include prevention of contagious and infectious diseases among internally displaced persons.
Families that are disunited by conflict situation should be aided for their reunification.
It should be recognized that government authorities have primary duty to establish conditions, as well as provide the means, which allow internally displaced persons to return voluntarily, in safety and with dignity, to their homes or places of habitual residence, or to resettle in preferred safe abode. This obligation include efforts to ensure that full participation of internally displaced persons in the planning and management of their return or resettlement and reintegration.
To enjoy the civil right of being fully recognized as a person before laws and authorities, the government should facilitate the issuance of passports, personal identification documents, birth certificates, and marriage certificates, among others, to restore their enjoyment in the exercise of their legal rights without imposition of unreasonable conditions.
IDPs should be assisted by authorities in the return, recover, and repossess their property and possessions which they left behind or were dispossessed of upon their displacement. When recovery of such property and possessions is not possible, authorities shall provide or assist these persons in obtaining appropriate compensation.
IDPs voices and rights should be adequately represented in all structures dealing with humanitarian cause.
Done during the Civil Society Organizations (CSO) Coordination Meeting For strengthening Convergence with the Government-led Clusters on Marawi Crisis Response on July 4, 2017 at Jollibee Conference Room, Tubod, Iligan city.
RIDO INC., RANAO RESCUE TEAM, ECOWEB Inc., RCBW-MARE, HRC, TFMPCI, BMCMPI, WOMEN’S PEACE TABLE, RRT-ALERT MOVT., KALIMUDAN FOUNDATION INC., RDRRAC, LDSPC, LAHRA INC., GITIB INC., CSO-FP INC., CFSI, LANAO YOUTH COUNCIL, CBCS-LANAO, RANAO INC., MEDICAL ACTION GROUP, UNYPHIL WOMEN, MSU-IPDM, PBHAC-MDRRN, OMAHCC, LMYA-ILIGAN/LANAO, MUCCARD, IFUPAA, ICCW, NAPC-VDC, UNHCR and OXFAM.
a. Regina Antequisa – 0917-723-0397
b. Samira Gutoc Tomawis-
c. Sultan of Marawi City Hamidullah Atar – 0999- 995-7927