By Calvin Penaco

MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur, Dec. 3 (PIA-TFBM-ICCC) — Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) and partner groups provided livelihood packages to Marawi internally displaced persons (IDPs) during the 4th Kawiyagan on Nov. 29.

The government agencies and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that participated in the event included the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF), Technical Educations and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Catholic Relief Services, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Community and Family Services International (CFSI), Technology Livelihood & Development Center (TLDC), Marawi City government, Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), Balay Mindanaw, World Food Programme (WFP), and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

They extended livelihood support, among which were farm animals, cash assistance, sewing machines, coffee machines, and carpentry tools, to IDPs.

The agencies did an initial distribution of livelihood assistance in the morning during the ceremony, while the complete distribution took place in the afternoon.

Below is a list of agencies, their activities, and the number of beneficiaries.

As a guest speaker of the ceremony, TFBM field office manager, Assistant Secretary Felix Castro, Jr. stressed the importance of properly making use of the assistance provided by donors.

“Kapag nalaman ng donor na hindi natin inaalagaan ang proyekto at livelihood assistance, aalis na iyan. Kailangan ipakita natin sa kanila na kada bigay sa atin, minamahal, inaayos, at pinapalago natin. Kapag nakita nila na inaalagaan natin ang binibigay sa atin, the more na magbibigay pa iyan (If the donor finds out that we’re not taking care of the project and the livelihood assistance, they’re going to leave. We have to show them that we cherish everything they have given us. If they see that, they are more likely to give again),” Castro said.

He added that a lot of help is still coming to Marawi from other countries.

“Kahapon, kausap ko iyong taga Australian embassy. Pinaplano na iyong mga susunod na tulong. Noong isang araw, kausap ko iyong taga-USAid. May mga tulong din silang ibibigay. Ang responsibilidad natin, alagaan at palaguin iyong mga binibigay sa inyo, at magpasalamat (Yesterday, I spoke to someone from the Australian embassy. They are now planning to send more help. The other day, I spoke to someone from USAid. They will also send help. Our responsibility is to take care of what they will give, and to give our thanks),” he added.

Ainah Macadaan, one of the beneficiaries, shares her livelihood story with her fellow internally displaced persons (IDPs). (Photo by Jason Casas/PIA-ICCC)

Meanwhile, Ainah Macadaan, one of the IDPs who also spoke during the ceremony, shared a message of inspiration with her fellow IDPs.

“Gamitin natin ang ating mga kamay para sa ating kinabukasan. Huwag lang tayo umasa sa kung anong pinapamigay. Hindi pwedeng umasa sa isang pamigay lang. Asahan po ang sariling sikap na kaya nating ibigay para sa ating pamilya at mga anak (Let’s use our hands for our future. Let’s not just depend on what others give. Let’s rely on the hardwork we are willing to do for our family and children),” she said.

Another IDP and a farmer beneficiary, Hadji Said Bilal, thanked DAF for their assistance.

Hadji Said Bilal, a farmer beneficiary, thanks the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) for giving the farmers corn seeds. (Photo by Jason Casas/PIA-ICCC)

“Nakatanggap po kami ng binhi ng white corn para sa taniman namin ng mais. Maraming salamat po sa DAF dahil sa tulong na ibinigay nila sa aming mga magsasaka. Kung meron pang ibang tulong na darating, salamat po (We received white corn seeds for our farm. We thank DAF for lending help to us farmers. If more help is coming, we are thankful),” he said.

Kawiyagan is a program created by the members of the TFBM Subcommittee on Business and Livelihood to provide livelihood assistance to IDPs. Other program objectives include showing the livelihood and skills intervention efforts for the affected residents of Marawi City, ensuring synergy among member agencies and partners in providing livelihood assistance to IDPs, encouraging more organizations to provide assistance, and providing an avenue for beneficiaries to share their inspiring livelihood narratives. (CTPenaco/PIA-ICCC)