Yesterday, we were able to complete our distribution to 670 families through home based distribution. It was a big challenge because the bylp and balay mindanaw staff and volunteers have to walk under the heat of the sun to reach out for the IDP’s identified by the barangay government. It was hard for the bylps fellows who strictly observe fasting while helping in the distribution. It was also a big challenge to meet angry household members who were not included in the initial lists. We have to stand our ground even if the volunteers were pushed by the angry persons. It was also heartwarming to hear expression of gratitude from a lot of IDP’s. They said it was their first time to get assistance six days after they left marawi and they thought they would never receive any because they are not on the evacuation centers. It was also quite frightening because the city of Iligan is close to declaring a locked down for the whole city.
The distribution ended with processing of feelings and thoughts of the BYLP. Below is a sharing from Nadsrie, BYLP Lanao del Sur.
“In behalf of other volunteers, thank very much sir and to the Balay Mindanaw team for giving us the chance to help our fellow Maranaos. I am sincerely in gratitude kasi hindi ako basta umiiyak or nagrereact sa fb posts (I don’t usually cry or react to fb posts) related to Marawi siege. Alhamdulillah in a little way I was able to express my love for Marawi and care for its people. It is an extra challenge to volunteer in Ramadhan time, but how can we not lend our hands when the only option for us now is to really help one another. And there you are, non muslims yet you have proven we are your brothers and sisters, nakakaencourage and nakakamotivate po talaga. We really appreciate everything po, it’s not just the money spent but your time and effort reflecting your sincere sympathy in what we are going through. Ika nga nila (as they say) while the helicopters and planes are the instruments, gunfires and bombs are the music in Marawi and the whole country remains as audience. kaya po sa lahat ng tumulong (therefore for those who helped), we pray for you continuous abundance and eternal security. You moved us. We beg God to reward you the best.”
I am still awaiting written reflections from other bylp fellows.
I thought the marawi incident will last for another 30 days. I was surprised to learn that the estimate to clear the whole city of local and foreign militants might last up to 60 days. Today, there is an estimated 150,000 displaced individuals. We cannot over extend but we can focus on one or two barangays.
On the ground, the bombings will continue daily as the best option for the armed forces to clear the snipers who are in the buildings. Unfortunately, the perception of the Maranaos is that the armed forces will flatten the city into ruins rather than just taking out the militants.
There is so much to do in terms of relief distribution and maybe psychosocial intervention in the next few days. We need to reach out to those displaced families and make them feel that there are a lot of groups willing to lend their generous hands.