MARAWI CRISIS

 

ecoweb situation logoSITUATIONAL REPORT NO. 02

Marawi Siege, Displacement and Emerging Trends

(As of June 16, 2017)

SUMMARY OF EVENTS

 

The Marawi Siege

In the afternoon of May 23, 2017, Tuesday, armed clashes between army troops and elements of a local armed group identified by the military and the media as the Maute Group erupted in the vicinity of Barangay Basak-Malutlut in Marawi City along the Lake Lanao Circumferential Road less than a kilometer away from the Mindanao State University (MSU) and the Provincial Headquarters of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Reports revealed that at least two weeks before, the military and police were informed by community leaders of the presence of armed men in Barangay Amito and Poona Marantao in Marawi City that borders with the municipality of Marantao. The armed men were suspected elements of the armed group that clashed with the military in the municipality of Piagapo, Lanao del Sur sometime in March, 2017.

Few days before the 23rd of May, the 3-day annual Johor, a gathering of Tablegh missionaries from all over Southeast Asia, was held in Marawi City. The gathering is attended by more than a thousand Muslims. Some participants of the Johor interviewed by EcoWEB partners, revealed that they were surprised to see some leaders of known militant groups in the gathering. Apparently, the military was tipped off of the presence of the leaders of militant group.

Around noon time on 23rd of May, the military came to Barangay Basak-Malutlut (adjacent to Barangay Amito) to serve the warrant and arrest Isnilon Hapilon.  Just as they were in the vicinity the military convoy was ambushed by the advance guard of Isnilon Hapilon. The ensuing gun-battle reportedly killed three (3) women who were participants of the Johor. Accordingly, the death of the women was relayed to other groups of militants who immediately rush to support the group in Basak Malutlut putting the raiding troops on defensive mode. The beleaguered troops asked for re-enforcements but before more troops arrived, the members and sympathizers of the allied groups who were already scattered in Marawi City took over the central districts of the City causing a massive pandemonium.

By early morning of the 24th, a convoy of hundreds of vehicles all in a hurry to leave for safety created a monstrous traffic that stretched from Marawi to Iligan City, a distance of 29 kilometers to the north of Marawi City. Some who have relatives in other towns around the Lake Lanao travelled to the south towards Malabang and other towns around the Lake.

In the early hours of the second day, President Rodrigo R. Duterte who was in a state visit to Russia, declared Martial Law for the whole of Mindanao for a period of 60 days as allowed by the Philippine Constitution.  Checkpoints were established almost in every kilometer of road from Marawi to Iligan and in some points, thorough searches were conducted in the luggage and cargoes of the evacuating residence contributing to the monstrous traffic. The distance from Marawi to Iligan, normally travelled in 45 to 60 minutes, took 8 hours to journey in the midst of the hot summer.

After five days of fighting, troops from the various units of the military were deployed in Marawi. The air force conducted surgical air strikes daily. Troops from various units of the military engaged the armed groups in a street-to-street and building-to-building gun-battle.

EcoWEB partners and one of its Board Member who choose to remain in Marawi City to guard their properties reported that as of the afternoon of May 28, street-to-street fighting still continue at the heart of the City and soldiers were able to take control of some blocks and positioned themselves in some buildings however they can’t still move around easily as snipers are still positioned in strategic buildings.  Remaining members of the Daulah Islamiyah and its allied groups estimated to be less than a hundred, still control some blocks and buildings in Marawi City.

EcoWEB sources reveal that the group that attacked and occupied Marawi City are a composite group of various ethnicity and nationality. They include the following: the Daulah Islamiyah also known as the Maute Group composed of Maranaos; a splinter group of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) largely composed of Maguindanaos and a group from the Abu Sayaff Group (ASG) largely composed of Tausog and Yakan speaking individuals. There are also others who spoke Bahasa and English. Our sources also sited local commanders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) who declared their severance with their units due to what they perceived as the hopelessness of the peace process after the failure of the signing of the Bangsamoro Basic Law in 2015.

EcoWEB sources on the ground, reveal that the young militants spoke fluent Tagalog and English indicating that they are exposed outside Marawi or may have studied in schools outside their places of origin. This also indicates that these young militants may come from families who are able to send them to tertiary education. They also mounted their guns on their vehicles the way the ISIS do in Syria and Iraq.

EcoWEB sources confirm that the ages of the militants range from 14 to 30 years old with most are in their 20’s and a few older adults. Given the average age, these young militants were babies and toddlers when President Estrada declared Total War against the MILF in March to July of 2000. It is worth noting that the barangays in Marawi City were the heavy fighting are happening are known communities of evacuees during the war in the 1970s and 2000. It is therefore likely that these militants are victims of the previous wars in Lanao del Sur and have heard the anguish and resentment of their parents and relatives as they grow old. It is also worth noting that the communities where the heavy fighting occurred are the barangays familiar to the militants.

As a result of the fighting in Marawi City, the route from either side of Lake Lanao to Iligan City and Cagayan de Oro were closed preventing access to sources of basic food items, medicines and other necessities.

On the 26th of May, President Duterte visited the headquarters of the 2nd Mechanized Infantry Brigade in Iligan City where he meet military and some civilian officials. He also visited the wake of dead policemen and soldiers and met members of their families.

On the 27th of May, the Holy Month of Ramadhan started. In Marawi, no call to prayer was heard as electricity was cut off, instead gunfire and rumblings of helicopter gunship were heard throughout the day. The mosques were virtually silenced as some were also used as hiding place of the militants.

Sustained daily bombardment and sporadic gun-battles continued for 22 days. The military is not certain until when their operation will last. But they are inching there way for the full control of Marawi City. It seems that the militants are either killed, escaped from Marawi and are still fighting.

A number of civilians are still trapped and some choose not to leave their homes and properties. The civilians composed of Muslims and Christians who work with Maranao businesses. According to the military, some Muslims decided to remain in the City to try protecting their Christian workers. A number of them escaped with their Christian workers during the first week of the fighting.

  1. The Maute Group

The so-called Maute Group is just one but the most organized of the various militant groups in Lanao del Sur. The group declared themselves to be the Daulah Islamiyah fi Ranao some years ago but the military just call them the Maute Group as the group is led by the brothers Abdullah and Omarkhayam Maute. For a time, the group was simply tagged as kidnap-for-ransom or extortion group. The group along with the Abu Sayaff group of Basilan and Sulu, and a splinter group of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) sometime in 2014 as reported in the group’s video propaganda. It was only then that the group was identified as a terror group.

In the absence of strong military presence within the city and the element of surprise, the Daulah Islamiyah, easily took control the commercial districts, the main streets and the three bridges leading to the City proper resulting to panic and chaos. The group lay siege the City Hall, raid the City Jail and freed a number of prisoners whom some joined the fighting, entered the Land Bank of the Philippines and other government offices. The group also burned some buildings of the Dansalan College, the school of the Benigno Aquino Foundation, and the Catholic Church of the St. Mary Parish and took the priest and parishioners who were praying the Holy Rosary.

AN ASSESSMENT OF THE SITUATION AND AFFECTED POPULATION

Important Context to Consider

 CSOs responding to the Marawi Crisis have to consider some important context that may constrain its response.

  1. Martial Law

In the context of Martial Law in Mindanao, CSO’s need to increase its dealing with the Military establishment as they shall have overall control in some areas particularly Marawi City. The military is expected to impose restrictions and surveillance operations to all who shall be responding the crisis. CSO’s and their personnel and vehicles should strictly ensure identification and limit operations within allowable time and space limits. In worst case scenario, some liberties enjoyed by CSO’s may be limited or outrightly curtailed.

  1. Ongoing Peace Process between Government and the MILF

The areas affected by the crisis are largely within the areas covered as part of the domain of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Internally Displaced Persons and Families (IDP/F) may seek refuge in MILF controlled areas. Responding to their needs may need coordination to existing coordination mechanisms and advocacies should be carefully examined in order not to affect the on-going peace process.

A. The Affected Population (AP)

EcoWEB with the members of the CLEARNet did a comprehensive analysis on the impact of the Marawi Crisis and its Impact as of June 16, 2017. One of the conclusions was that after three weeks of fighting two types of affected populations were created – the direct affected population (DAP) and the indirectly affected populations (IAP).

EcoWEB and CLEARNet, made the categorization to guide its response strategy and to plan for future recovery and rehabilitation efforts.

A. Directly Affected Populations (DAF) or the Internally Displaced Persons/ Families (IDP/F)

The DAF are the ones aptly called Internally Displaced Persons/Families (IDP/F) for the basic reason that they were forced to evacuate from their homes and barangays. The IDP/Fs are of two categories: those who are residents of Marawi city and those who are non-residents.

In a press briefing in Malacañang on June 15, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) executive director and Office of Civil Defense (OCD) chief Ricardo Jalad confirmed that as of June 14, the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Lanao del Sur has reached 324,406 or 66,738 families. Five percent (5%) of these IDPs are staying inside 79 evacuation centers in Lanao Del Norte, Lanao Del Sur, and Cagayan De Oro. The remaining 95 percent sought refuge with relatives and friends particularly in the Lanao provinces, other regions of Mindanao and other parts of the Philippines.

Initial data gathered by EcoWEB from various communities and evacuation centers reveal that on the average 59.6 percent of the IDP’s are females and 40.4 are males. In some communities, the women are as high as 70 percent. In terms of age, 3.1 percent are 3 years old and below, 49.5 percent are under 18 years old, 42.7 percent are 18 to 50 years old and 7.8 percent above 50 years old.

  1. Resident IDPs

The IDP’s are mostly residents situated in the areas of the fighting mainly in Marawi City. Earlier in the crisis, ARMM officials estimated that 90 percent (approximately 195,582 persons) of the 201,785 population evacuated to various places and evacuation centers outside Marawi City.  A huge bulk of these IDPs came from the 27 severely affected barangays of Marawi City. These evacuees are the resident IDP’s.

     2. Non-Marawi Resident IDPs

The recent data from NDRRMC reveal that approximately 40 percent or 128,844 persons of the accounted IDPs of 324,406 are non-residents of Marawi. The recent NDRRMC data also imply that approximately 31 percent of the population of Lanao del Sur are now displaced.

NGO’s operating in Marawi City prior to the crisis reveal that the non-resident IDP’s were of three categories:

  • First category are the population from adjacent barangays of Ditsaan-Ramain and Marantao who evacuated due to actual fighting in the neighboring Marawi barangays and fear of possible expansion of the fighting to their barangays. Some also came from municipalities where military operations expanded due to reports of escaping militants.
  • Second category are the former IDP’s of the 2000, 2003, 2008 armed encounters and the Butig and Piagapo armed conflict in late 2016 and April 2017  who decided to stay with relatives in Marawi City but not officially counted as Marawi residents. A number of them came from the perennially conflict-prone municipalities of Butig, Masiu and Piagapo among others.
  • Third category is the population of other municipalities economically impacted by the scarcity of food, medical and other basic commodities. They are the Economically Affected Population (EAP).

      3. Transient IDPs

A sub-category to the DAF is the Transient IDP (TIDP). The TIDP were largely non-Maranaos and non-Muslims who worked in Marawi City as carpenters, constructions workers, laborers, domestic helpers, store keepers, warehouse men, garbage collectors and vendors of recyclable materials. Numbering about a few thousands, they came from poverty stricken villages in Iligan City, Lanao del Norte, Cotabato provinces and the Zamboanga provinces. Some of them are indigenous peoples.

The migrant IDPs came to Marawi for lack of livelihood opportunities in their places of origin. They opted to work in Marawi City despite all the dangers posed to a minority group in a seemingly hostile environment. Of this group, only those who were killed and rescued were accounted for. Those who were able to return safely on their own efforts were not accounted and yet they are as traumatized as the Muslim Maranao IDPs and they also badly need emergency assistance.

B. Indirectly Affected Population (IAP)

At the onset of the crisis, there was only one type of Indirectly Affected Population (IAP) – the host families and communities (HFC). As the crisis drags on, a new type of IAP emerged the Economically Affected Population (EAP). Recent NDRRMC report revealed that more than 128,000 persons are non-residents of Marawi City. A considerable percentage of this non-resident IDP’s could be EAP within municipalities adjacent to conflict area and other towns within the circumference of Lanao del Sur. This population could potentially increase as the fighting drags on.

  • Host Families and Communities (HFC) – The HFCs are the relatives of the Resident IDPs who by customs and traditions welcome the IDP’s. They are usually whole community of relatives (CoR) who collectively provided comfort to their IDP relatives. In most cases they share their houses thus they also experience the congestion. As the crisis drag on, they also experience the scarcity of food and basic needs as theirs were shared to the IDPs.
  •  Economically Affected Population (EAP) – As the crisis drags on to its fourth week, food and other basic supplies could not pass through Marawi City, thus, forcing the people from the 31 towns of Lanao del Sur to use an alternate route via Malabang in order to buy food from Iligan, Cotabato, Pagadian and Cagayan de Oro. This means tripling the distance, the transportation cost and the risk that store owners has to endure, thus also tripling the prices of basic commodities that become unaffordable to most of the people in Lanao del Sur that already have the record of having the highest poverty incidence in the country. The process gave rise to a new type of IAP – what EcoWEB call Economically Affected Population (EAP). 

EcoWEB partners agree that if the war in Marawi will drag for a month, at least half of the population of Lanao del Sur will suffer hunger and will become EAPs and will likely join with their relatives in the Evacuation Centers where food ration is assured.

III. THE SPECIFIC NEEDS OF THE IDP’s, HFC and EAPs

A team from CLEARNet visited several of the undocumented evacuation sites in the municipalities of Lanao del Sur, Lanao del Norte and Iligan City revealed the following general assessment of the IDP’s.

The Maranao’s dislike of staying in evacuation centers remains a big challenge to government and NGO-based aid workers. Security, cultural and religious considerations are the main reasons why Maranaos prefer to stay with relatives.

  • Security – The primary reason why Maranaos prefer to stay with relatives is security. Clan feud is prevalent in the Maranao society. Clan feud, locally called rido can be caused by many reasons. The most common nowadays is rivalry during elections. When a clan is offended or believed to have been cheated by a rival clan during the last election, the clan can declare a rido and immediately start attacking or assassinating members of the rival clan especially those whom they suspect to be directly involved in the act of cheating or offending them. When two clans are in a rido, cousins up to the 3rd degree of consanguinity of the main target can be a potential target. Because of this situation, Maranao IDP’s whose clan has an active rido will always seek refuge with their relatives than to go to evacuation centers where a member of their adversary clan may spot and attack them. In the traditional Maranao Code of Conduct, women and children who are not capable to wield a weapon cannot be a target of an attack. This is one of the reasons, why there are more women present in the evacuation sites than men. The existence of these rido’s is one of the main reasons why Maranao’s prefer to stay with relatives despite the very limited space.
  • Value System – Maranao values Kapamagogopa, Kathatabanga and Kapoporawae give assurance to the IDP’s that relatives and friends will accommodate them for some time. The certainty that relatives will take care of the family despite the limited space is already better than going to the evacuation center where the IDP family do not have any relation.

Kapamagogopa can be translated as “working together for the common good.” In deeper sense it is a Maranao principle that enjoined every Maranao to protect and provide for the need of those in need even to offer the last provision that you have.

Kathatabanga can be translated as “helping one another.” It is the source of Maranao’s spirit of voluntarism towards a common goal. This is very important during the holy month of Ramadhan when every Muslim is enjoined to do good things.

Kapoporwae can be translated as “valuing self-esteem.” This is a Maranao value that demands respect to each other. This is very important when dealing with IDP’s because queuing and being interviewed for personal details as requisite for assistance is largely demeaning to most because under the kaporporwae it is every Maranao’s obligation to respect and enhance the self-esteem of another especially those in need.

  •  Religious  – Ramadhan and Family Reunions: The Holy month of Ramadhan is a very special month for the Muslim Maranaos. It is not only because it’s the time to fast and perform religious duties but also the time for families to be together. Choosing between the evacuation centers and to be with their relatives, the latter is always the choice. Ramadhan is a special month when special religious obligations are to be done. Among Maranaos, praying in the mosque at least every Friday within the whole month is obligatory. This is the big problem now because their basic prayer materials – the praying mat and the mukna or praying dress – are left in their homes when they fled. In all the communities visited, these need is expressed by the women. In one Madrasah where 19 families evacuated and 26 women are IDP’s, they only have 2 mukna that they take turn in using.  Access to water and safe space especially for women is necessary for their “abdas” or cleansing prior to their 5x a day prayer. Some evacuation center don’t have good access to water and safe space for abdas. Hence, when there is an option even it means staying in a overcrowded and congested small rooms with their relatives they would still prefer than an evacuation center where basic facilities are usually lacking.
  • Cultural – Maranao culture highly regard their women and provide them with privacy which is impossible in evacuation centers. Touching or even just staring their women may cause of conflict or rido. Being in an evacuation center with other clans may expose their women to some untoward incident that any man member of the clan cannot just disregard for it means hurting their pride called maratabat. Any Maranao man cannot simply disregard their maratabat for it would mean shaming of the family or clan. Hence, exposing their women may actually attract actions that could result to rido. Hence, it’s better to avoid if they still have alternative.
  •  Access to Water – Water is very important to the Muslim Maranaos. The uncertainty of water supply in the evacuation center is big deterrent for Maranaos to go. They prefer to evacuate with relatives living near the lake side or river side as this gives them a certain source of water.
  • Food shortage is experienced by both IDP’s, HFC’s and the EIP’s.  The IDP’s in the evacuation centers were better off as they regularly received food support but in an irregular interval. Most of the food delivered by government agencies were the standard combination of rice, can goods, noodles and non-food items including sleeping and cooking utensils. Some of the food combination did not suit to the needs of the fasting Muslims but they are forced to adjust to what is available.

There are also significant matters to deal with in the humanitarian intervention. These are:

  1. There is no official estimate on the number of youth IDP’s accounted by government agencies. However, EcoWEB’s data revealed that 32 percent of IDP’s served in the last 3 weeks are aging 12 to 17 years of age. Of this number 62 percent were girls and 38 percent boys.
  2. Majority of the youth IDP’s are high-school students who are uncertain if they could enrol in the school year because of lack of credentials, uniforms and difficult situation in the evacuation centers and their host families. The Department of Education issued a memo to schools
  3. IDP’s with HFC’s mostly in barangays along Lake Lanao have stronger potential for self-support in case the crisis is prolonged. Most communities have lands where they could plant short-term food crops or even developed into farms. They also have access to the lake that could supply fish for their protein needs. Only that the IDP’s do not have the skills and tools for farming fishing since they are mostly used to urban life in Marawi City. In this case, the capacity of the host community who are still doing farming and fishing could be enhanced while developing the skills of the IDP’s through informal skills sharing schemes.
  4. Water, sanitation and hygiene are increasingly becoming a concern for both in evacuation centers (EC) and homes. In Lanao del Sur most of the barangays that absorbed IDP’s are those along the lake-shore and the major tributary rivers. IDP’s along this barangays used the lake and river water for washing, cleaning, cooking and drinking without any purification. EC’s do not have enough toilets and bath-rooms. Most homes have only one toilet and women are often given priority to use while the men look for hidden spaces and creeks to relieve themselves. The washing facilities in the mosques are used by the men. The spaces for the women were not enough for the massive increase of female population.
  5. The HFC could not get supply from Iligan City since the military closed the road passing through Marawi City. Some businesses purchased food supply from Cotabato, Pagadian and Iligan through the southern route via Malabang but the transport cost and the risk quadrupled the prices, thus, making food supply unaffordable to both evacuees and host relatives. In most of the towns around the Lake, the cost of 50-kilogram sack of rice skyrocketed to P5,000 compared to P2,500 before the crisis. Prices of other commodities also doubled while others are mostly unavailable.
  6. In some communities visited by the CLEARNet Team, the impact of hosting IDP’s which to most Maranao families is both customary and a religious is severe that they also started to experience food shortage and congestion during the second week of the crisis. Those interviewed said that another week of the crisis will make them hungry and will force them to go to evacuation centers where most of food supplies are delivered.
  7. Government agencies initially limited their delivery of relief goods and services to those in the evacuation centers and a few communities that are easily accessible particularly in Saguiaran, Pantar, Baloi and Iligan City. As of late, documentation of home-based IDP’s was intensified. Recently, NDRRMC estimated the home-based IDP’s to reach as much as 95 percent of the total number of IDPs.
  8. Local Government Units (LGU’s) of municipalities hosting IDP’s have reportedly allocated funding for their emergency response and coordinated with the DSWD. The DSWD also channelled resources to the LGU’s.
  9. The Office of Civil Defence and DSWD has emphasized that government have enough resources to provide support especially food and advised humanitarian agencies providing food relief to be on stand-by mode as they continue their validation process particularly by the Iligan LGU. As of June 14, the NDRRMC took full control of the operation of emergency relief operations.
  10. The EC’s are mostly covered courts and semi-open buildings. IDP’s outside EC’s stayed in houses, madrasahs and unused buildings. There are no partitions and IDP’s sleep in cartons. Mats and blankets are lacking. Those in the communities sleep in the sala, porch, stairs and benches. Most evacuees have very limited clothing, some even only have their clothes wear which they substituted with borrowed malongswhen they wash it. Hygiene kits and other non-food items including kitchen utensils, cleaning tools, sleeping mats and blankets are in need.
  11. The congested situation in EC’s and communities started to take its toll to the infants and young children who started to experience upper respiratory tract infection (URTI), skin diseases and gastro-intestinal problem. Some older IDP’s also suffer Hypertension.
  12. EC’s do not have prayer rooms. Most of the home-based have access to masjids in the community. Many evacuees were not able to bring with them their prayer paraphernalia especially praying mats and mukna for women. In all the EC’s and communities visited, the women borrowed mukna from relatives or take turns using the available.
  13. Facility for breastfeeding is not available in EC’s. Home-based IDP’s have access to rooms in their host-house for breastfeeding.
  14. Security and Protection: IDP’s in Iligan and other towns of Lanao del Norte who evacuated in mixed Muslim and Christian communities reported of suspicious look of local people especially to the young men. Those who have cars also observed that police and military checkpoints search their vehicles more than those other vehicles. In some EC’s, picture taking is not allowed without the consent of designated Camp Managers.
  15. Traditional and religious leaders in Marawi, Lanao del Sur, Lanao del Norte and Iligan City called for the immediate end of hostilities in Marawi. They also offered to mediate with the militant group whom some of them were their relatives. The lamented that the National government did not seek the advice of the Sultans on what to do with the extremist. The traditional and religious leaders believe that using traditional mechanisms, the leaders of the Jihadist group will talk to them.

 EMERGING TRENDS

After a series of discussions by members of the CLEARNet, some emerging trends and scenarios are identified as significant to be considered in doing emergency response. These include the following:

  1. Increasing Number of Indirectly Affected Population (IAP)

The continued fighting in Marawi has already impacted at least 31 municipalities around Lake Lanao. Among those heavily impacted were the HFC’s who hosted the IDP’s from Marawi. Thinking that the fighting will only last for 2-3 days, they accommodated as much as 20 families with an average of 70 individuals. This is now a nightmare as their own families started to feel the pang of the crisis as supplies of food dwindled and priced tripled. The HFC’s are now asking government help otherwise they will be forced to follow their relatives already in the evacuation centers just to receive food rations.

  1. Possible Return of the Evacuees to their Villages

The full military might of the AFP employed against the Maute Group can end the fighting in a week or two. Some IDP’s, mostly the men started to return to the barangays already recovered by the military. It is likely that the IDP’s will return in trickles but it will gradually increase. Without food, water supply, electricity, health facilities, schools, etc. this can create a chaotic condition. If not managed well, it may result to violence. The National Government recently announced of a 10 Billion for rehabilitation and reconstruction but the plan on how this will be translated and localized is yet to be seen.

  1. Potential Intensification of Rido or Clan Feuds

 Maranaos are generally clannish. There is a very high tendency that upon seeing the destruction of their properties whole clan will blame and seek revenge to the families where the militants came from or known to be sympathetic with the militant’s cause. Searching who to blame started to emerge in social media and this may led to pointing fingers on some families that are also tagged by the national government. When not neutralized, it could lead to further violence as families who felt victimized and betrayed will seek revenge. This kind of potential violence will pose serious threat to humanitarian workers and volunteers.

  1. Presence of the Military in Marawi City

The state of Martial Law imposed in Mindanao has implications especially in Marawi City where militarization is experienced since the 1970’s. The visible destruction of Marawi is undeniably caused by sustained direct bombardment by the military in an effort to dislodge elements of the Maute Group. This fact might evoke hatred to some groups and individuals who have negative experiences with the military in the past. The military presence can be construed as a form of occupation rather than a form of state intervention for the security of its citizens. In this case,

Emergency response could also be limited by military restrictions in the delivery of relief goods. Coordinating with the military will become part of the standard operating procedures.

CLEARNet shall consider the above emerging scenarios in its emergency response. The network’s Survivor-Led Response can allow more flexibility in working in highly unpredictable and complex situation as it allow the affected population to continue to adapt its responses according to felt needs and opportunities.

PROBLEM TO BE ADDRESSED

 The overwhelming majority of the affected persons are from Marawi City and the adjacent barangays in the municipality of Ditsaan-Ramain, Marantao, Kapai and Saguiaran who are staying in congested houses and community buildings like madrasahs and barangay halls have not yet reached by government agencies 15 days after they started evacuating.

EcoWEB with participating organizations in the CLEARNet Platform have identified over 10,000 families scattered in 22 priority EC’s and at least 200 host communities in 52 municipalities and cities in Lanao del Sur, Lanao del Norte and Iligan City that are un/under-served or unreached until the visit of CLEARNet members. Each host community has 20 to 100 families each.

The main problem to be addressed is the lack of basic short-term and long-term survival needs of the IDP’s both at the EC’s and to mitigate further flocking to the designated evacuation centers. CLEARNet hoped to enhance the coping capacity of the Maranaos right in their communities around the Lake.

The rural communities that hosted the IDPs are more resilient as they largely produce their own food and only buy those that they can’t produce. However, the sudden influx of urban-oriented population broke their resilience as their small food-plots were exhausted. Thru SLR, the existing resilience of the host communities shall be supported while at the same time organizing the IDP’s to support the initiatives of the host communities.

RESPONSE

EcoWEB coordinate with its existing networks of Muslim organizations in assessing the trend of displacement.  The three main networks are the partners Office of the Maranao and Higaunon Cultural Concern (OMAHCC), the network traditional leaders thru the Reconciliatory Initiatives for Development Opportunities (RIDO), and of local CSOs including KALIMUDAN Inc., BIRTHDEV, and other locally-based civil society organizations. Based on the information gathered by the these networks, the residents of Marawi fled in three general directions: northward to the Iligan City, Cagayan de Oro and the municipalities of Lanao del Norte; eastward towards the municipality of Ramain, Lanao del Sur and southwestward towards the municipalities of Balindong, Tugaya, Madalum, Ganassi and Malabang.

Various government agencies led by the Department of Social Welfare and Development responded to the crisis by setting up evacuation centers. The initial EC’s that they opened in Iligan City, Baloi, Pantar and Saguiaran. As of June 15, a total of 29 EC’s was officially recognized by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) who took over the overall supervision of the response Operation.

EcoWEB, whose Executive Director sits at the NDRRMC as the representative of the Victims of Disasters and Calamities (VDC), actively participate in coordination and cluster meetings. It also linked with the local government units of host municipalities in Lanao del Norte.

The EC’s were not enough to accommodate the IDP’s besides the fact that Muslim Maranaos prefer to stay in the homes of relatives for security, cultural and religious reasons. This situation prompted the government agencies to intensify its documentation effort for the home-based IDP’s. The DSWD also instituted mechanisms and processes to cater the needs of the home-based IDP’s which according to NDRRMC estimates reached to more than 90 percent of the documented more than 66,000 IDP families (over 324,000 individuals) as of June 17, 2017.

EcoWEB and CLEARNet with the funding support from Christian Aid and technical support from L2GP responded by providing relief goods including both food and non-food items to home-based IDP’s in Iligan, Baloi and Pantar in Lanao del Norte and in Balindong and Ramain in Lanao del Sur.

The main response of EcoWEB and CLEARNet is the implementation of the Survivor/ Community – Led Response (S/CLR) to the Marawi Crisis. The response involved the mobilization of IDP’s to form into Self-Help Groups (SHG) and the tapping of traditional Maranao community structure to mobilize the IDP’s. The two modalities of S/CLR has already reached a total of 1,159 families consisting of 5,649 individuals.

As of June 16, a total of 44 SHGs were organized involving 759 families consisting of 3,649 individuals. Twenty-five (25) of the 44 SHG’s involving 400 families had already submitted their proposals and have received the first batch of micro grants amounting to an average of P20,000 per SHG’s. Nineteen (19) SHG’s are still in the process of formulating their proposals.

The S/CLR also mobilized the traditional Maranao sultanate to facilitate the organization of the IDP’s in their respective communities. At least three (3) Sultanates who hosted 400 IDP families were mobilized with the support of trained facilitators from the Reconciliatory Initiatives for Development Opportunities (RIDO), Inc.

EcoWEB has trained 40 volunteer-facilitators for the SLR process. These volunteers are now organized into SLR Facilitating Teams. Most of the teams are now in the process of scanning and contacting the home-based IDP’s in preparation for the Participatory Action Learning in Crisis (PALC) activity, the first major activity of the IDP’s where they will do a participatory rapid assessment of their situation and identify their needs. Some are already in the process of facilitating and validating plans of the SHG’s in preparation for the disbursement of financial aid.

Included in the SLR process is the collective planning for the return to Marawi. The first SHG’s who already did their plan of action while in being displaced are now starting to develop their return plans.

EcoWEB and CLEARNet participating organizations, with the help of Christian Aid and other local donors, have also provided emergency food assistance to home-based evacuees in Iligan and Lanao del Sur.

On the 26th day since the Marawi siege, a total of 1,559 displaced families have already been served by EcoWEB with some CLEARNet partners through provision of micro-cash or food assistance.

Through SLR mechanism and in partnership with one CLEARNet partner, the RIDO, Inc., more than 50 traditional leaders, mostly IDPs, and more than 60 IDP youth have also been provided support in their efforts to capacitate themselves in advocating their agenda for peace building and in ending the fighting in Marawi the soonest time possible. The youth IDP volunteers are also capacitated to help in documenting cases of violations of rights of IDPs and stories of hope to serve as basis for advocacy and engaging the government and the public towards rebuilding and reconstructing Marawi following Do-No-Harm and conflict-sensitive approach.

Footnotes:
Interview with evacuating community leaders from the two barangays facilitated by KALIMUDAN, Inc. on May 25, 2017 and was corroborated by interviews done by RIDO, Inc. on May 28, 2017.
The number of days is not very clear, one source say its 3 days another said one week. Two sets of dates were given: May 17-19, 2017 and May 16-20, 2017. The confusion seems to be the result of the early arrival of participants who opened charity shops raising funds for missionary work.
Interview with Executive Director of RIDO, Inc., May 30, 2017.
The killing of the three (3) women was not reported in the media but reliable independent sources and EcoWEB partners confirmed the report.
The name is not appropriate because it puts into bad light the other members of the whole Maute Clan, whom many are businessmen and professionals and has nothing to do with the militant group.
 http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/2131497538439/gov-t-assures-swift-action-to-aid-idps-from-marawi. Accessed June 16, 2017.
 http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/news/nation/612313/90-of-marawi-city-residents-evacuated-over-1-000-trapped/story/. Accessed June 15, 2017.
 Host Communities are the group of families, mostly related to the IDP’s by blood or affinity who provided shelter, food, clothing, etc. and shared their facilities with the IDP’s.