By Calvin Penaco

MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur, Nov 28 (PIA-TFBM-ICCC) — Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) involved in the Financial Inclusion for the Recovery of Marawi (FIRM) project lauded recipients who now have profit-generating businesses during the project’s culmination ceremony at the Provincial Capitol on Nov. 28.

Some three internally displaced persons (IDPs), namely Monera Candidato, Alican Hasan, and Rakima Idris shared their success stories.

Alican Hasan, a beneficiary of the Financial Inclusion for the Recovery of Marawi (FIRM) project, shares his success story with the other internally displaced persons (IDPs). (Photo by Lou Antonio/PIA-ICCC)

Candidato said she used the cash assistance as capital for her firewood business.

“Ginamit ko iyong nakuha kong pera para pambili ng kahoy para makakuha ng panggastos sa aking mga anak na nag-aaral. Noon kase, hindi sila makapag-aral kasi wala akong maibigay sa kanilang pamasahe (I used the money to purchase firewood so I could make money for the sustenance of my kids who were still in school. I had not been able to give them money before since I couldn’t give them enough for their fare),” she said.

Hasan and Idris also used the cash assistance as capital for their small businesses. Hasan was able to put up a sari-sari store while Idris opened an RTW store.

The NGO executives each delivered a message of inspiration to the IDPs, explained their organization’s role in the project, and reaffirmed their continued commitment to Marawi’s complete recovery.

Since FIRM made use of digital technology in bringing financial services to IDPs, PayMaya Philippines Vice President Kenneth Palacios cited the importance of continuing to use the services despite the project’s culmination.

“Gusto po namin marinig iyong feedback. Ang teknolohiya po, hindi iyan maganda sa umpisa. Dapat natin ito gamitin over and over. Habang ginagamit natin, natututo tayo at mas napapaganda natin. Pasensya na po kung minsan may mga problema. Lahat po iyan kailangan natin marinig nag ma-improve. Over time, lahat po tayo makikinabang (We want to hear feedback. Technology does not work well at the first stages. We need to use it over and over. The more we use it, the more we learn and make it better. We apologize if there are problems. We need to hear all of these so we can improve the service. Over time, we will all benefit from it),” he said.

Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) field office manager, Assistant Secretary Felix Castro, Jr., encouraged the IDPs to take advantage of the opportunities that the project had given them.

“Kung ano ang ibinigay ng gobyerno at ng partner agencies, iyan ay alagaan at palaguin niyo (Whatever the government and the partner agencies have given, take care of it and make it grow),” he said.

PayMaya Philippines Vice President Kenneth Palacios explains the role of their organization in the success of the Financial Inclusion for the Recovery of Marawi (FIRM) project. (Photo by Lou Antonio/PIA-ICCC)

Meanwhile, Oxfam in the Philippines Country Director Maria Rosario Felizco, thanked all partner groups and organizations that made the project possible, especially that there had been challenges they have had to overcome.

“Let’s use everything that we learned from this project, especially on financial literacy, in our future endeavors,” she added.

FIRM is a cash transfer project aimed at providing assistance to 10,000 vulnerable IDPs, jointly implemented by Oxfam in the Philippines, Initiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternative Legal Services (IDEALS), Al-Mujadilah Development Foundation (AMDF), PayMaya Philippines, Smart Padala and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with the support of the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (UN CERF). (CTPenaco/PIA-ICCC)