TACLOBAN CITY– A group of super typhoon ‘Yolanda’ survivors and leaders of internally displaced persons (IDPs) expressed concern over the government rehabilitation program in war-torn Marawi City.
“We see several parallelisms between the approach to rehabilitation in Yolanda-affected communities and that to Marawi — the disregard for survivors’ rights, lands, and participation in the whole rehabilitation process,” said Tin Domdom, advocacy and campaigns associate of Community of Yolanda Survivors and Partners (CYSP).
Domdom’s reactions came after their dialogue with IDP leaders and evacuees of Marawi dubbed as “Two Tragedies. Together” on April 3 at the Mindanao State University main campus in Marawi City.
“President Rodrigo Duterte promised change will come during his administration. Duterte also claimed Maranaw blood runs through his veins. If all these are true, prove it to the people of Marawi that they may not experience the same disappointments that Yolanda survivors still struggle with four years after the storm,” she said in an interview.
Tessie Elacion, president of Balangiga Municipal Unsafe Zone Federation in Eastern Samar, hoped that the mistakes in Yolanda rehabilitation will not happen in Marawi City.
The 56-year-old Yolanda survivor, who also went to Marawi City to join in the dialogue, said that consultation and respect of the IDPs are important in the rehabilitation process.
Meanwhile, Marawi IDP leader Adel Ditucalan of Bangsamoro Civil Society Organization Platform belied government reports that they were being consulted.
“They say they did a consultation to local government units. But no way can we say that these local government units represent us. [They do not] give us room; we weren’t invited to these meetings. We believe that we should be heard, IDPs specially,” Ditucalan said.