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How Marawi war destroyed families’ way of life

Special Correspondent

MARAWI City—Crammed inside a 24-square meter house, 16 family members of Norhayne Dimapinggun have lived ever since their family compound was destroyed at the height of the Marawi siege two years ago.

CRAMMED. Some of the family members of Nohayne Dimapinggun (in red) in their home in Purok 7, Barangay Sagonsongan, Marawi City Tuesday. Sixteen family members of her family crammed inside a 24-square meter house at a relocation site. (photo by Froilan Gallardo)

Dimapinggun had to construct a small extension at the back of the house to accommodate other family members.

“We used to be a bigger family before the war gutted our compound. We are what is now left of our family,” she said.

Dimapinggun, a 32-year-old mother of four, said many of their family members are now scattered all over in nearby cities of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro, and as far away as Manila.

She said their family was forced to migrate to seek opportunities in those cities.

“Are we more liberated today than two years ago, I say no we are not,” Dimapinggun said.

“We missed the support we enjoyed when our family were together,” she said.

Two years ago, thousands of residents were forced to leave their homes after the military and Daesh-inspired militants fought a five-month bloody war.

The residents are living in temporary shelters outside Marawi after their houses were reduced to rubble.

Many have fled to other cities to start new lives.

Ellen Anisha Guro, head of Mindanao State University library, said one of the major casualties of the Marawi siege is their time-honored close family clans.

Guro said compounds or big houses of families were among the houses destroyed by the fighting.

She said compounds and big houses were designed to accommodate a big family.

“Sometimes a big house have big rooms that is divided into smaller rooms where the family members also stay,” Guro said.

Norhaisah Radja-alam, 36, who sells sari-sari to feed her seven children, said she missed talking to her relatives in the family compound.

Radji-Alam said she also depends on her family relatives to watch her children every time she goes out to buy goods for her store.

“I now feel the hardship taking care of my children alone without the help of my relatives,” she said.

Fr. Teresito Suganob, who spent five months as a hostage of the Isis gunmen who took over Marawi, said family clans are all-too important in a Maranao life.

Suganob, who spent 23 years as a priest of the Prelature of St. Mary in Marawi City, said Maranaos involved their relatives in every aspect of their celebration.

“They have big pots where everyone help in cooking. The family clan is in their culture,” Suganob said.

Suganob said the war destroyed that all-too-important aspect of Maranao life.


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