By Wilnard Bacelonia

It all started when Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) chairperson and Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) Secretary Eduardo del Rosario announced during the interagency consultation-dialogue last March 18 at Lanao del Sur Provincial Gymnasium that the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) was about to provide the Kathanor-registered Marawi internally displaced persons (IDPs) with P73 thousand worth of cash assistance.

Tanggute Dimangadap, 26, who at the time was temporarily staying at the Bakwit Village in Matungao town, Lanao del Norte with his wife, Jamilah, and three children, felt excited to hear the good news.

Because his village was last to receive the Livelihood Settlement Grant (LSG) of P20 thousand and Transitory Family Support Package (TFSP) of P53 thousand, Tanggute saw how his fellow IDPs spent the money after receiving it. Then, he told his wife: “If I will receive it, I will plan how to spend it.”

Working at a furniture shop

Tanggute was working before the Marawi siege at a furniture shop owned by his family in Wawalayan Marinaut, a small village at the southern part of the most affected area (MAA) or ground zero. So, after receiving the DSWD’s cash assistance, he and Jamilah decided to have their own furniture shop.

“I don’t want my family to live in Bakwit village anymore. We can’t just depend on relief assistance forever. We need to pursue this because this is our dream,” he told the Philippine Information Agency (PIA).

Tanggute smoothing out wood lumber for his furniture products. (Photo by Lade Kabagani)

He bought a wood slicer machine, three plainer machines, other furniture tools and rented a place in Matampay, Marawi City which also became his family’s new home.

“To my fellow IDPs who have received DSWD’s cash assistance, spend it wisely. Don’t spend it in a shopping spree because your family will suffer,” he said.

Project Development Officer Jamila Taha of DSWD-10 said of Tanggute’s story: “We are expecting that the cash assistance we are giving the Marawi siege victims will be used for their business and other means for them to rise back on their feet again. We are happy to hear and see how they wisely spend the cash assistance they have received. We are more inspired to be better public servants when we hear these kind of stories.”

As of this writing, the DSWD is still waiting for TFBM Field Office’s endorsement of the new list of Kathanor registrants before it can start with the second round of cash assistance distribution to legitimate homeowners from Marawi’s MAA. (WLBacelonia/PIA-ICCC)