TACLOBAN CITY- Discrimination against them from the locals is now a thing of the past.
Thus said Farhana Jamel, 26 and a mother to five children, who fled the war-torn Marawi City and sought temporary shelter in Barangay 62-B, Sagkahan district, this city.
Jamel disclosed that they faced harassment and bullying from the residents of the said village when they arrived here last June 2.
Of the 16 Muslims who fled Marawi City, nine of them are children who also bullied at the schools where they are now enrolled.
But thanks to the village officials who, upon learning the problem, asked the residents to stop harassing the Marawi residents and treat them with respect.
“During our first few days here, we were bullied. Some people called us Maute,” Jamel said, referring to the terror group that attacked Marawi City last May 24.
The attacked by the terror Maute Group prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to place the entire Mindanao until martial law which is to last until the end of the year.
Jamel said that they just ignored the harassment directed against them and chose to live normally by doing small businesses like vending foods.
Jamel, however, said that they informed the barangay officials about their predicament and in turn, village chairwoman, Rosita Luyten, told her people to stop harassing the Marawi residents and treat them with respect.
And this stopped the harassment and bullying of their children who are studying at the elementary and secondary schools in Sagkahan, Jamel said.
“They have learned to accept and interact with us,” she said, referring to the residents of the village.
“We told the residents that we have taken precautionary measures that if in case they do something wrong or illegal, we can easily trace them because we did profiling on the evacuees,” Wilma Almeria, a barangay councilor, said.
Meantime, Jamel and her group are now occupying temporary the village’s legislative building after the owner of the apartment that they have rented asked them to leave.
“We decided to let them transfer to the legislative building as their temporary resettlement while they are waiting for the condition in Marawi to get better,” Luyten said.
Luyten added when they met City Mayor Cristina Romualdez last July 25, she gave an assurance that her administration will provide the basic needs of the evacuees and to ensure that they are safe while they are here in Tacloban City.
Jamel said that she hopes the war in Marawi City will end soon so that they could return there and live peacefully just like in the past.