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From camps to Congress and to Marawi’s streets

Samira Ali Gutoc .

MARAWI City — From camps to Congress and to Marawi’s streets, civilian leaders are banding together to amplify the cause of peace and human rights in the Bangsamoro through a Walk for Peace this March 18 in time for the Jabidah massacre commemoration.

There is no organizer, the convenors remind, so that all groups are invited to join and co-own the event, even organize their event or action. It could be as simple as sharing photos of Moro heroes.

This writer is calling on all to create hashtag and social media campaigns on anything Bangsamoro and not forget Marawi.

Mindanao and nationwide movements are expected to attend in solidarity after the successful Walk for Peace in the Mindanao State University organized by the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS).

In the past two weeks, leaders of Civil Society Organizations (CSO) and IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) have filed position papers to assert return and compensation for all evacuees displaced by the siege. They have also visited agencies, i.e. Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the World Bank to input on the Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Program to be consolidated by the National Economic Development Authority this March.

On this 10th month of the Marawi displacement since May 23, CSOs under All Out Peace (AOP) network manifested a position paper for the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) before the Joint committees on Peace, Local Government and Muslim Affairs last Tuesday.

Housing, property and land took center stage at the Senate in a hearing by the sub- committee on housing under the ad hoc committee on Marawi rehabilitation and reconstruction held Feb. 22. Eight evacuees from a cross section of sectors including a private school administrator, Sultans, a senior citizen and women from Ground Zero, Lanao Sur, Norte and Iligan submitted position papers on their advocacies for IDP rights and welfare.

Six of the IDPs were invited to present with Shariah lawyer Padoman Paporo of Sabala Manao, also Ground Zero. They assert reconstruction planning must be IDP-led and culturally-contextual.

Based on their 20-page position paper, they assert representation in decision-making in all processes of the Marawi rebuilding efforts. They urge reporting and transparency of funds.

This is the first hearing held about Marawi after the announcement of a second military camp here worth 400 million that had a groundbreaking by the President.

Return to Marawi has also been facilitated to the safe areas and Sagonsongan temporary shelters.

I am hearing that proponent Sen. JV Ejercito has acted on the request of groups for an inquiry into Marawi. He has also expressed concern for Muslim-Christian relations in an Iligan forum here followed by the BBL hearing at the MSU Gymnasium a month ago. Their concrete proposals include return to Ground Zero and compensation for homeowners, including renters and sharers.


(Samira Ali Gutoc-Tomawis, Ll.B., co-founder of the Young Moro Professionals resigned as commissioner of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission in late May, days after the Marawi Crisis started, citing personal reasons and policy questions. She is one of the organizers of the Ranao Rescue Team, a group set up to respond to the crisis. She had earlier served as an assemblywoman, women sector, of the Regional Legislative Assembly, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao; was former director, Al-Amanah Islamic Bank Inc. and former director of the Marawi Resort Hotel Inc.)


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