MARAWI CITY (January 30, 2020) — Hundreds of residents converged at the People’s Park in this city to avail of various programs, services and livelihood assistance packages provided by the government and foreign donor agencies through the 16th Kawiyagan.

The Kawiyagan, a Maranao term which means livelihood, is a regular activity spearheaded by the City Government of Marawi and Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM), which aims to provide much-needed humanitarian and livelihood assistance to those affected by the 2017 siege.

TFBM Field Office manager, Assistant Secretary Felix Castro Jr. explained the event is an occasion where the government, civil society and international relief organizations come together in order to help uplift the lives of residents in the once war-stricken area.

“Ito ang distribution ng mga livelihood interventions natin. Maraming agencies, mga NGOs, mga personalities ang tumutulong sa Marawi. Hindi pa ito matatapos. Marami pa ang gustong tumulong,” Castro said.

He bared that during a recent meeting with the ambassador of Belgium and Germany, the envoys asked him what their respective countries could do to aid the Philippine government in its ongoing current relief and rehabilitation interventions.

“Marami-rami pang pangangailangan [sa Marawi] lalo na sa livelihood, sa pagkain. Dito ipinapakita ng gobyerno, ng mga partner agencies, na tutulungan namin kayo hangang makabangon,” Castro said.

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) project manager Dr. Rosalinda Pineda noted that since the launch of the first Kawiyagan in 2018 in Marawi, TFBM member-agencies have demonstrated their dedication and commitment to serve the people of Marawi.

“You could see the faces of the representatives of the different line agencies and humanitarian teams light up,” Pineda said in the vernacular, as she described the sense of joy and fulfilment among those who have participated in the previous Kawiyagans.

She assured the people of Marawi that the Kawiyagan “will not end by 2020. It will continue,” adding that, “We are hoping that there will be another program that will be implemented by the DTI with the partner-agencies.”

Speaking on behalf of Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr, Deputy Presidential Peace Adviser Isidro Purisima said that he was very happy to see the positive developments happening in Marawi.

Purisima, a retired general of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, recalled the dire situation of residents during and immediately after the siege. But with the help of stakeholders and the residents themselves, he said the city is now rising up and showing signs of recovery.

“Unti-unti, bumabalik ang sigla dito sa Marawi sa tulong ng bawat isa sa atin, ‘yung mga communities in particular, yung mga residents dito sa Marawi at sa tulong ng different agencies ng government natin,” he said.

Purisima emphasized that the Kawiyagan is a “convergence point” wherein the government, in collaboration with other peace partners, is able to reach out those who need help the most, especially those living in transitional shelter sites across the city.

“Ang aktibidad na ito ay simbolo ng ating pagkakaisa at iisang layunin na isulong ang kapakanan ng ating mga kapatid na Maranao,” he said.

According to Purisima, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace (OPAPP) has, for the past three years, been carrying out peace-building and social healing initiatives in Marawi and other neighboring areas such as Butig, Piagapo at Pagayawan which were affected by the siege.

“Naglalayon ito sa pagpapatibay ng social cohesion o pagpapatatag sa samahan ng mga miyembro ng komunidad para pagsulong ng mga positibong pagbabago at adhikain,” he said.

Purisima said that through OPAPP’s Social Healing and Peace Building (SHAPE), the agency has organized women and youth peace conversations and inter-faith dialogues, as well as peace bazaars and fun rides which aim to promote the culture of peace, unity and solidarity.

“Sa pamamagitan ng mga aktibidad na ito, patuloy nating inaalala ang kahalagahan ng pagbubuo ng culture of peace sa bawat miyembro ng tahanan – mga ama, nanay, mga kabataan at komunidad. Isa ito sa mga kinakailangan sa [pagkamit ng] pangmatagalang kapayapaan sa ating mga lugar,” he said.

During the day-long event, Purisima and Castro led the turn-over of livelihood assistance packages to residents which included 10 units of masonry tools from DTI, 121 bags of seeds from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Aquatic -Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (MAFAR-BARMM), a Bongo and mini-truck from UN-HABITAT, livelihood products from the Community and Family Services International (CSFI) and World Food Programme (WFP) and 100 sacks of rice from OPAPP. ###