Marawi CIty—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.
Assistant Secretary Felix Castro Jr., TFBM Field Office manager, 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.
“This helps the distribution of our livelihood interventions. A lot of agencies, NGOs, and personalities are helping Marawi. It doesn’t end here, a lot more people want to help,” Castro said.
During a recent meeting with the ambassador of Belgium and Germany, the envoys asked Castro what their respective countries could do to aid the Philippine government in its ongoing current relief and rehabilitation interventions.
“We have a lot more needs, especially in food and livelihood. Here we can show that the government and its partner agencies will help people in the city until they can recover,” Castro said.
Department of Trade and Industry project manager Dr. Rosalinda Pineda noted that since the launch of the first Kawiyagan in 2018, 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. 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 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.
“With all our help, Marawi is getting back its old vigor, especially in the communities, thanks to the residents and the help of the different government agencies,” 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.
“This activity symbolizes our unity and common goal to advance the lives of our brother Maranaos,” 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.
During the day-long event, Purisima and Castro led the turnover 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 Resources of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao; a Bongo and mini-truck from UN-Habitat; livelihood products from the Community and Family Services International and World Food Programme; and 100 sacks of rice from OPAPP.