Dozens of families forced by the siege to flee their beloved Marawi City have found a new temporary home, as the Office of the Vice President formally opened the doors of Angat Buhay Village on Tuesday.
Vice President Leni Robredo led the simple turnover of 60 transition shelter units to the City Government of Marawi on Tuesday, July 17, 2018, at Barangay Sagonsongan. Receiving the symbolic key was Marawi Mayor Majul Gandamra, with witnesses including Housing Asec. Felix Castro Jr. of Task Force Bangon Marawi; Fr. Roberto Yap, S.J., president of Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan; and the residents of the new village.
VP Leni spent most of the said visit speaking with some of the beneficiaries in their new houses, listening to their experiences during and after the clashes, which included enduring a year in evacuation centers or as home-based evacuees.
“Nagpapasalamat sila na mayroon na silang maayos na tirahan kumpara sa evacuation centers, pero nakakadurog pa rin ng puso na pakinggan iyong kuwento ng bawat isa—kung paano medyo masagana iyong buhay nila noong hindi pa nagkakaroon ng kaguluhan, tapos kinailangan nilang iwan lahat para lumikas, tapos ngayon mag-uumpisa sila sa umpisa,” said the Vice President.
She also noted that most of the beneficiaries she spoke to asked for livelihood assistance, in order to support their families. VP Leni said her office and their partners will look into available options to address this.
“Iyong pinaka-gusto sana natin, kung ano na iyong kinasanayan nilang ginagawa [ang ibigay na livelihood],” she said. “[M]as mabuti sana kung ano iyong kinasanayan tapos mayroon pa ding market para doon, doon na lang siya tulungan. Kasi parang mahirap na kami iyong magsasabi na, ‘Ito iyong gawin mo,’ pero hindi naman niya iyan alam, o hindi naman iyon iyong kinasanayan niya. Baka mas mahirapan siya. So iyong sa atin, tinitingnan natin ngayon—lalo na iyong mga halos walang makain—ano ba iyong immediate na puwedeng itulong sa kanila?”
She added: “[K]ailangan talaga iyong patuloy na pakikipag-usap sa kanila, para natututukan natin kung ano iyong pang-araw-araw natin… Kapag nabibisita, nafa-find out mo, so nahahanapan ng intervention.”
The XU committed to continue engaging the beneficiaries, to help them regain a sense of normalcy as they adjust to their the temporary shelters.
The OVP is eyeing to build an additional 40 temporary housing units for the village, to hit its target of providing 100 transitory shelters for Marawi evacuees.
The construction of the 60 transitory shelters was mostly funded by “Piso Para sa Laban ni Leni,” a donation drive that raised some P7.4 million, initially intended to pay the remaining half of the required cash deposit in the electoral protest pending before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal.
The project is also made possible with assistance from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao government; Task Force Bangon Marawi; United Architects of the Philippines – Quezon City Elliptical Chapter; Metro Stonerich Corporation; RAF International Forwarding Services, Inc.; Latter-Day Saints Charities; Sigma Delta Phi-Southern California Alumnae Association; JS Unitrade; Philippine Toy Library; Solanaland; LASURECO; JVR Foundation; EMCOR; Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative; and Uratex.