Ten months after Marawi was seized by terrorist forces, Aid to the Church in Need Philippines and Duyog Marawi formally launched their campaign to help rebuild the prelature of Marawi and its people on March 23, 2018 at the Arzobispado de Manila, in the Intramuros district of Manila. Although ACN began providing help in the earliest stages of the conflict and Duyog Marawi activated its system at the same time, the launch formalized their partnership and commitment.
Through the media launch ACN Philippines and Duyog Marawi presented its plans and programs to address the various needs of the city’s half a million people displaced and about 80,000 families affected. Speaking at the launch Prelature of Marawi Bishop Edwin dela Pena said that although the Christians in Marawi comprise a very small minority, the prelature is one with the people—particularly the Maranaos—in their loss and suffering.
Duyog Marawi (duyog is Cebuano word that means “accompany”), he said is committed to the partnership with ACN, who has been helping Marawi soon after the outbreak of the conflict. ACN joins Duyog Marawi in its two-fold thrust that was enunciated by Bishop dela Pena as: first, contributing to the rehabilitation of 30,000 families mostly from Ground Zero (the center of the battle in the city) and second, to work in the area of peace education towards Muslim-Christian Dialogue.
For his part, Jonathan Luciano, ACN Philippines director, said that Pontifical Foundation will help in five areas summarized in the acronym HILOM (which in Filipino means HEALING):
H – ealing. ACN will support all psycho-social healing programs of the Prelature for the affected Maranaos and most especially to the survivors of the hostage-taking during the six-month siege. These programs will employ culture-based approaches to healing and wellness for local communities.
I – nterfaith Dialogue. ACN seeks to support the various programs of the Prelature to rebuild the fruits of interfaith dialogue between Muslims and Christians. These will be done through peace education, dialogue and communications.
L – ivelihood support for Maranaos and Christians. As the city center of Marawi is still closed to its former residents, many of its former settlers are without sustainable income. ACN will work with the Prelature in coming up with livelihood support for the residents until they could either start a new business or return to their original means of livelihood once the city center is re-opened.
O – ne in worship. ACN will help rehabilitate the chaplaincy located in the Mindanao State University and will provide a Chapel Truck.
M – ovement for Peace. Through peace education the movement aims to foster deeper mutual understanding among Christians and Muslims in the region.
Juhaira Saidali, a Muslim volunteer in Duyog Marawi reported during the launch the activities that the prelature’s social action arm has been undertaking. Through its 148 Maranao and Christian young professionals, Duyog Marawi has served thousands of families in several communities by providing shelter assistance, water, and aids for sanitation and hygiene; livelihood, food relief, medical mission, psychosocial support services, trauma therapy, peace education and promotion of inter-faith dialogue. It also runs a therapeutic and recovery program for Christians who were held hostage by the ISIS forces.
One of the early hostages of the Marawi siege is Fr. Teresito “Chito” Soganub. Along with 120 others he was held captive until the city was liberated. During his captivity, Father Chito said that the situation of being under constant threat of a bullet was deeply excruciating for him and his prayer daily was for strength to have faith.
ACN will help Father Chito and the hostages by supporting the program for their healing and rehabilitation.
Unable to be present at the launch, Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, president of ACN Philippines sent a message. The campaign, he said, is an appeal for prayers for the healing of Marawi; an appeal for funds to help rebuild the ruined homes in Marawi; and is a call for peace-loving peoples never to allow the Marawi war ever to happen anywhere else again.
Local, foreign and Church media attended the launch. Also present were Brother Reynaldo Barnido, director of Duyog Marawi, and Ms. Julieta Wasan, president of Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas, the organization of all lay and transparochial associations, mandated organizations and clubs.
By: Peachy E. Yamsuan/ACN Philippines