A Solidarity Invitation from the Prelature of Saint Mary’s in Marawi
“The task of reigniting the peace process among Maranaos and Christians in Marawi – temporarily halted but not defeated – must begin even if the war is still going on. We couldn’t wait for the Maute group to be defeated before we begin the process of healing peoples and communities, bridging the gaps, sharing our dreams, and reconstructing our lives. These processes have to begin now before the reconstruction begins, and before people will go back to the city.” DUYOG MARAWI
The National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA) of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines has launched a rehabilitation program for war-torn Marawi.
Most Reverend Edwin dela Peña, D.D. of the Prelature of Saint Mary in Marawi, assembled a group of priests and lay missionaries from all over the country, in partnership with the Redemptorist Missionaries, to form a social action center to plan and implement short-term and long-term Church-based response to crisis.
After consultation with major stakeholders in the crisis – Internally Displaced Persons(IDPs) , Local Government Units (LGUs), the military, Maranao leaders, and Church organizations – a program called DUYOG MARAWI was crafted to help in the psychosocial needs of 13 communities along the northern shores or Peace Coriddor of Lake Lanao. "Duyog" is the Cebuano term for accompaniment.
Services that will be provided by Duyog Marawi include health, wellness, and peace caravans; peace education in child-friendly spaces; organization, training, and mobilization of Maranao and Christian youth volunteers; and documentation of humanitarian stories and human rights abuses.
Dioceses can adopt Malabang, Balabagan, Picong, Maranto, Balindong, Bacolod-Calawi, Madamba, Ganasssi, Calanogas, Marogong, Kapatagan, Tugya, the Marawi State University Community, the Balo-i Cathedral Community, and Sultan Naga Dimaporo.
Most Reverend Honesto Ongtioco, Bishop of Cubao, together with Cubao Oeconum Rev. Fr. Ronaldo J. Santos, and Cubao's Vicar General Msgr. Daniel Sta. Maria, turned over 2.7 million pesos as donation to help the displaced families in Marawi. The cheque was given to Mr. Mario Deriquito, and to Bro. Armin Luistro, President of the Philippine Business for Social Progress. Their organization is a committed partner of the said rehabilitation program.
As of date, the Dioceses of Cubao and Novaliches, and the Archdiocese of Manila, have committed to help in Duyog Marawi.
DUYOG MARAWI's SHARED DREAM (From a document given to the Cubao Media Office by Bishop Honesto Ongtioco)
We dared to dream something that seems impossible but is actually articulated by the LGUs, the CSOs, and Sultan of Marawi and the heads of the 16 royal houses, the Ulamas, and the Imams: that the people will look at this experience of losing everything as an opportunity to start anew and build Marawi City to become a model community of sustainable collaboration among Maranaos of all classes and clans, and peaceful co-existence between Muslims and Christians.
We are given that rare opportunity to prove to the world that it is possible – difficult, arduous, and exhausting maybe, but possible! And we will document it at every step of the way, and tell that story to the rest if the world especially to the Christians.
DUYOG MARAWI's Commitments:
- Duyog Marawi will be the voice that tells the real stories, the struggles, and the successes of the Maranao people in their search for peace. We will utilize our capacities and networks in letting your voice be heard to the Christian world.
- Duyog Marawi will serve as the Third Party monitor of the incidence of abuses from all sides as has always been the role of the Prelature from the beginning.
- Duyog Marawi will act as a main convener of initiatives for interfaith and interreligious dialogues for peace.
- Duyog Marawi will serve as bridge that connects the mercy and compassion of the Christian world to the affected communities in Marawi and aroung the Lake Lanao.
DUYOG MARAWI’s STRATEGIES AND PROCESSES
Catalysing the Peace Corridor to Live Up to Its Name
Their Locus: we choose to focus our attention to the aptly named Peace Corridor – these lakeside/coastal communities within the vicinity of the Marawi that connects to the SND National Highway. There were not displaced but were greatly affected because they lost the center of their livelihoods, the markets of their products, and their basic services when Marawi was put on a lockdown. They also played hosts to home-based IDPs.
We identified 13 communities as the loci of operations: SND, Malabang, Balabagan, Picong, Maranto, Balindong, Bacolod-Calawi, Madamba, Ganassi, Calanogas, Marogong, Kapatagan, Tugaya, plus the Marawi State University community and the Balo-i Cathedral community.
From just the highway that allows free passageway of relief goods, we aim to transform these as a chain of communities that channels free passage of ideas and dreams of peace, and to become gateways and guardians so that ideas of terror and extremism will not flow freely.
Their Community Engagement: Together with Maranao and Christian volunteers whom we will train to become community-based peace catalysts, we aim to identify 250 families composed of both IDPs and hosts (affected but not displaced) coming from the same Sultanate or madrasah. We will support them by providing rice subsidies as a token of their participation in the process. But we will begin by listening to them. The Bishop and the rest of the team will conduct Solidarity Visits to these communities not so much to assess their needs but to listen to their stories and their dreams. The output of these ongoing community dialogues will be a blueprint of rebuilding Marawi City focusing on laying the foundations of peace in the hearts and minds of the residents with ingredients that come from their faith and culture and their willingness to dialogue with others.
Their Services: We will do what we do best – community engagements and opportunities for healing and reconciliation. Our services to these communities shall include:
A Healing Center – We aim to open a healing center for those whose minds are traumatized by the wounds of war. It will be a combination of psychiatric and psychological services and culture-based approaches to healing and wellness. We are aware that many children are bullied in the schools where they were transferred, so we will have a special program to deal with the trauma of bullying.
Health, Wellness, and Peace Caravans – We will conduct Wholistic Medical Missions to these 13 communities. We got the commitment of the Lanoa del Sur Provincial Health Office and the Marawi City Health Office to be our main partner in this project as well as other medical groups and Catholic hospitals. We hope to partner with groups like Dapit Alim and Sining Kambayoka to craft theater-based healing and reconciliation processes to the communities aside from medical specialists to focus on physical and mental health.
Peace Education in Child-Friendly Spaces – We aim to partner with groups like Catholic Relief Services to open child-friendly spaces and add peace education to the engagements with children. We assume that it is very difficult to change the minds of adults, but the children might be more receptive to stories of peace and harmony among religions. Representatives of the Sultans of the 16 Royal Houses of Lanao also articulated this as an urgent need.
Organizing, Training and Mobilizing Maranao and Christian Youth Volunteers towards Peace and Dialogue – It is a simple cash for work program that will hopefully augment the incomes of their families, but the “work” is a mission to plant the seeds of peace among the young population in these 13 communities. We hope to partner with groups like EcoWeb and Community Organizing Multiversity (COM) in this endeavor.
Communications for Peace, Healing, and Reconciliation – We will set-up a multi-media unit to document, produce and publish stories from within. They will also be engaged in documentation of human rights abuses. We will use the vast Catholic Media Network as our alternate channel of information since mainstream media have shifted their attention from Marawi City. We hope to get the support of the Media department of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippine/National Secretariat for Social Action or CBCP/NASSA to help create a culture of compassion among our Catholic faithful towards the Maranao.