Displaying items by tag: Marawi

When hope fights back amid conflict in Marawi

By Jayeel Serrano Cornelio

Fear is terrorism's greatest asset. Its workmanship is the disruption of everyday life. Only through disruption can terrorism achieve its ultimate end, whether religious, political, or economic.
Not everyone can of course take up arms to fight back. And so there are those for whom fighting back takes on a different form.
Consider the Young Moro Professionals Network. Its members have released a public statement that not only denounces atrocities carried out in the name of Islam. They are convinced that the values of Islam are "justice, care for humanity, mercy and compassion, and religious tolerance."
To them these virtues run counter to the acts of violence against the people of Marawi. They are thus inspired by how "Muslims and non-Muslims [are] protecting and helping each other during this crisis."
Along similar lines, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has fully supported the fatwaof mufti Sheik Abehuraira Abdulrahman Udasan "against the entry and spread of violent radicalism or extremism." MILF, the government's partner in the Bangsamoro peace process, believes that religious violence "has no basis in any of the teachings of Islam."
Countering radicalization
The statements above matter if only to correct the radicalization that affects even many young people in Mindanao. Radicalization is the process in which violence against other people becomes a religiously justified act. There are many pathways to radicalization but religious ideas are quite powerful in shaping a person's cognitive and emotional commitment to violence. Training them for battle and socializing them into a violent worldview explains why the Maute Group has deliberately recruited children to become their soldiers.
These statements are, at the same time, important for everybody else. Public perception of Islam is divided as to whether it is responsible for the spread of religious violence. In fact, I have met a few otherwise nice people who harbor ill-informed views about Islam and its followers. To them all Muslims have the propensity to be violent because violence is inherent to Islam. They do not realize that Islam, which means submission, and salam, which means peace, are linguistically related to each other.
In a sense then, surrendering to the will of God brings about peace. This is why the violence many of us associate with Islam is in fact anomalous theologically and empirically.

Redemptive hope
Alongside these powerful statements are inspiring moments that render undeniable hope in the midst of crisis.
When I arrived at MSU-IIT last month, the first ones I met were sociology students from the Marawi campus of Mindanao State University. Many of the students in Marawi are Muslim. The ones I met were in the college dean's office to defend their undergraduate theses. This was, to them, their own way of fighting back and their professors, some of whom are my friends, were not going to let them down. They were all in Iligan to see them through it all.
Let me tell too the story of a DSWD [Department of Social Welfare and Development] coordinator in one of the evacuation centers in Iligan. A Maranao, she oversees its daily operations. She has admitted to me that she, herself, is among the internally displaced. Some relatives have taken her and two of her children in. But two others have been separated from her because there is simply not enough space. She is no longer sure about the condition of her house in Marawi. In spite of all these uncertainties, she has chosen to devote her time to help other evacuees. And she remains upbeat about the future.
Finally, we have Mubarak Macabanding Paingco. He is the first Muslim to graduate summa cum laude – and the only one at MSU-IIT. He is this year's valedictorian. During his valedictory address, he recounted his moving story about losing his mother at an early age. That he was holding back his tears made it difficult for him to finish his speech. He dedicated it to her and those who have been affected by the conflict in Marawi. Many of IIT's students and staff are Maranao.
There are certainly many other hopeful stories. But the parallelism is striking. Violence may have become the new normal but people are not letting it get in the way of their lives.
Fighting back
In the hostel where I am staying for the duration of my visiting professorship at MSU-IIT, I interacted with a young Maranao couple who evacuated from Marawi. They say in the strongest terms possible what I have also heard from other Maranao friends: Ipinahihiya ng Maute ang dangal naming lahat. (The Mautes are a disgrace to our dignity.)
But they are still full of hope about the future of their young family. This again shows how people are fighting back.
Hope in this light redeems not just the future but the present too.
In other words, foresight grounded in present reality can be empowering. It believes that people can fight back. The sociologist Les Back describes it in this manner: "Hope is not a destination; it is perhaps an improvisation with a future not yet realized."
Hope therefore is not just a fantasy. But it does not on its own spring eternal. To hope is a conscious effort among people of goodwill.
And because some people have already chosen goodwill, hope, we shall see, will stand the test of time.
The least that the rest of us could offer them, apart from our donations, is to believe in them. – Rappler.com
Jayeel Serrano Cornelio, PhD is a visiting professor at the Department of Sociology at MSU-IIT. The National Academy of Science and Technology has named him the 2017 Outstanding Young Scientist in the field of sociology. Follow him on Twitter @jayeel_cornelio.


P5k assistance earmarked for displaced residents returning to Marawi

By Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star)

Photo: According to Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, the government decided to give P5,000, apart from the P1,000 given at the end of Ramadan, to each displaced family so they can start their lives anew. File

MANILA, Philippines - At least 19,000 families in evacuation centers in Northern Mindanao and those seeking shelter elsewhere will each receive P5,000 once they return to Marawi City when the armed conflict ends.

According to Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, the government decided to give P5,000, apart from the P1,000 given at the end of Ramadan, to each displaced family so they can start their lives anew.

Unregistered evacuees staying in the houses of their relatives or hotels are given until today to register in their respective barangays so they can avail themselves of relief goods and other services from government agencies.

Volunteers from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao will help encode and revalidate the basic information of all evacuees to prevent duplication of entries, which will be the basis for the Disaster Assistance Family Access Card (DAFAC).

The DAFAC will be used to keep track of services provided to evacuees by different government agencies.

Based on latest figures, more than 350,000 people are still displaced because of the clashes between the military and members of the Maute terrorist group.

Some 17,300 people are staying in evacuation centers, while more than 333,000 are with their relatives and friends.

Taguiwalo said relief distribution is ongoing both for those who are home-based and those in evacuation centers.

“The concerned field offices of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) are continuously validating and updating the inside and outside evacuation centers data. Further changes are expected with the continuous validation and movement of the affected population,” she said.

More than P123 million worth of assistance has already been provided by the DSWD to the evacuees.

Officials of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) also flew to Iligan City on Monday to distribute relief packs for thousands of evacuees.

Pagcor chairman and chief executive officer Andrea Domingo spearheaded the relief operations for 5,000 evacuees temporarily sheltered at the gymnasiums of Barangays Maria Cristina and Sta. Elena.

The state gaming firm initially allocated P3.7 million in relief packs containing assorted food items, toiletries and a malong, a native Muslim blanket.

‘Don’t hoard food packs’
The DSWD warned all stakeholders not to hoard the food packs that were supposed to be given to evacuees.

It cited Republic Act 10121 or the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management law, which prohibits hoarding and removal or replacement of content of food packs from the DSWD.

“We ask the help of local government units to ensure that all DSWD assistance during calamities reach people in need as soon as possible,” the agency said.

Taguiwalo earlier called on the public to report problems in the distribution of the relief for the evacuees.

Sen. Sonny Angara called on concerned government agencies to also focus on the evacuees’ mental health and wellbeing following a news report that 2,500 of them have demonstrated early symptoms of schizophrenia.

Angara said the displaced residents of Marawi require sufficient medical aid, including mental health services, to help them cope with their present situation.

“The shattered dignity of the Maranaos is more difficult to relieve. It takes more than food or water or even shelter. It needs much more than that to be restored,” Angara said.

Forced to leave their homes because of the armed conflict between the Maute group and state forces, Marawi residents have to cope with living in temporary evacuation centers and limited resources.

Being in this type of situation could lead to mental health problems and according to Marawi Crisis Management Committee spokesperson Zia Alonto Adiong, there are not enough psychiatrists in evacuation centers.

The DSWD said it will also implement a “cash for work” program for evacuees displaced by the ongoing conflict in Marawi City. – With Helen Flores, Paolo Romero, Lino de la Cruz, Marvin Sy, Ben Serrano


‘Marawi siege derailed deadline to defeat terror groups’

By Michael Punongbayan (The Philippine Star)

Photo: The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) admitted the fighting in Marawi had upset its timetable in the campaign against terrorism. AP/Aaron Favila, File

MANILA, Philippines - The fighting in Marawi City derailed the goal of the military to defeat the Abu Sayyaf and other terror groups by June 30.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) admitted the fighting in Marawi had upset its timetable in the campaign against terrorism.

However, the AFP said the battle will be won and significant accomplishments during the last six months showed it is on the right track in the fight against terror groups.

“We have neutralized 519 terrorists (including 178 Abu Sayyaf and 317 Maute) since Jan. 1 until June 30, 2017,” AFP chief Gen. Eduardo Año said.

Año said the AFP also recovered a total of 548 firearms, which reflects a significant reduction of the enemy’s strength and capabilities, and prevented or minimized piracy and kidnappings.

“The desperation of Maute-ASG to claim recognition as an ISIS state prompted them to stage the rebellion and occupy Marawi City. These acts have derailed our objective to defeat them based on our timeline,” Año said.

Año though emphasized that while the Marawi siege is catastrophic, painstaking and destructive, the AFP will prevail in the end.

He said the military would not be pressured nor bound by timelines or deadlines, adding President Duterte has given orders to finish off the Maute group and clear Marawi of terrorists to pave the way for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the war-torn city.

“We will do this with highest dignity and code of conduct of the professional soldier; and respect to human rights for our country, for the people and for our soldier heroes who ultimately gave their lives for this cause,” Año assured. – With Ben Serrano


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