Now that martial law has been declared in Mindanao, it's best to have a better grip of the situation and how we as a nation can help our fellow Filipinos. It is important to understand that any kind of help we give, whether we are fellow Mindanaoans or from Luzon or Visayas, will reflect on us and how we see our affected brothers and sisters in Lanao del Sur.
Did you know that the city of Marawi is home to the Maranaos, who speak the Maranao language? The Maranaos are a kind, generous, fiercely loyal, and proud people. They live in relative peace with non-Maranaos and locals can speak any of the following languages: Maranao, Filipino, Cebuano, English, and Arabic.
A basic understanding of Mindanao geography and logistics will help guide as we endeavor to help.
1| Marawi City, with a population of 201,785, is located in the province known as Lanao del Sur.
The airport closest to it is called Laguindingan Airport, which can be found under the Cagayan de Oro flight option. Cagayan de Oro, in the province of Misamis Oriental, is an hour and a half by plane from the airport of Manila. Laguindingan, also in Misamis Oriental, is located 47 kilometers from Cagayan de Oro and 57 kilometers from Iligan City. The military now uses the old Lumbia Airport called Lumbia Air Base, located in Cagayan de Oro.
Going from Laguindingan to Iligan City will take another hour and a half via land. Traveling from Iligan City to Marawi City will take another 45 minutes to one hour, under normal conditions.
All these time figures do not take into account the checkpoints found along the way as getting in and out of all these cities is via one major highway. This highway has many road works, constructions, and checkpoints (even before Martial Law was declared) so travel time is much longer than usual.
2| This means that any physical help you send via an NGO, an organization, or a volunteer will have enormous logistical concerns.
If you send help via DSWD and other official government channels, they will avail of the C130 or cargo military plane which lands in Lumbia. Estimate the travel time from there to Iligan to at least two to three hours, minimum.
If your aid is coming in via commercial planes, expect that Laguindingan airport will be congested as well.
Option to send help via flatbed trucks and container vans like what was done for Super Typhoon Yolanda will not be optimal as this is Mindanao.
3| Unlike helping others during disaster relief, the Marawi crisis is different because of the warfare element and the need to subdue the rebels. For example, Iligan City has implemented curfew for all ages as a security measure. It is the closest big city to Marawi and home to various evacuation sites.
The military and police checkpoints will inspect all sorts of containers: as grocery-looking bags could actually be used to smuggle in arms and reinforcements for the rebels, too.
4| The checkpoints will require whoever passing through to present proof of either residence or purpose in the area. Residents will automatically have identification that categorize them as being from the area. The authorities just want to ensure that the rebels aren't trying to blend in with the locals, hence these strict measures.
5| Maranaos are clannish and the discrepancies in the figures of internally displaced persons (IDPs) is because not all who evacuated and fled Marawi City, including the biggest campus in Mindanao, MSU-Marawi City, are in evacuation sites. Home-based IDPs means those who sought refuge with their families and relatives based around Lanao del Sur, Lanao del Norte, and Misamis Oriental.
There are a total of 24 evacuation centers and as of May 27, 5 p.m., the figures are: 6,288 families or 30,602 individuals in these centers. The home-based IDPs number 2,308 families or 11,540 individuals. This brings the total to 7,088 families or 42,142 individuals as of May 27.
But according to Ruben Carranza from the ARMM, as of this morning, the number of internally displaced is at 69,853.
Factual reporting and statistics take time and movement is expected. Also, the displaced faculty, staff, and students from MSU-Marawi City campus either have friends or family in the closest cities. This is where they first tried to go for safe haven.
6| Several displaced individuals left the war zone in literally just the clothes off their back. The hotline numbers below will generally ask for basic clothes, medicines, and food. Remember, many of those in need of food are Muslims so Halal food, whether canned or packed is recommended.
Water is also a big need aside from hygiene kits, diapers, veils, malong, prayer mats to name a few.
Be sensitive and only give what you yourself would use or wear.
7| The ARMM released hotlines for stranded and missing persons in Marawi City.
The numbers to call are 0995-496-9122, 0995-496-9123, and 0939-529-6030. Exact known last location, names of the stranded or missing persons, and their last known contact number should be provided to this number. The evacuation sites under their control are those located in Saguiaran, Pantar, and Baloi (all are municipalities before reaching Marawi City coming from the direction of Iligan City).
8| The Local Government of Marawi City has provided the following hotlines for medical, food, and transportation assistance, in-kind and cash donations: 0955-769-4404, 0915-972-4348, and 0930-009-1401. They are currently holding satellite office in Iligan City at #12 Guillermo Guevarra Street in Camague, near Mercy Community Hospital in Iligan City.
9| Muslims around the world have just started their annual Ramadan fast on May 27, 2017. That means, by daybreak of Saturday, May 27, they started to refrain from eating and drinking, as they proceed with their regular five daily prayers. They will recite the Quran right before sunset as they start to break their fast with iftar.
This evening meal, when Muslims end their daily Ramadan fast at sunset, is another way that volunteers around the area have supported the displaced citizens. Normally, a Maranao family will start preparing their iftar well before sunset so that by then, the breaking of the fast can begin. It is a family-affair and something that everyone looks forward to.
Because of what has happened, these families cannot observe their nightly iftar. Some groups have started preparing the iftar and sending it over to the evacuation sites.
10| This is important: before sending or engaging in any kind of help, verify the people asking for it and try to see if they are official and transparent with the help they get. With the hotlines above, they will also be able to answer all inquiries for volunteers in any capacity as they need all the help they can get. Also, because of security concerns, getting in and out of evacuation centers will have layers of security so official coordination is recommended.
11| The Department of Health-ARMM through its Secretary Jojo Sinolinding has also issued a call to all doctors, Rural Health Physicians, Municipal Health Officers, and other Rural Health Unit personnel directing them to report immediately to their Provincial Health Office Dr. Alinader Minalang or Asst. Provincial Health Office Dra. Shalimar Sani-Rakiin to form part of disaster medical teams for deployment across affected areas and evacuation sites.
As the terrorist Maute group continues its clash with the military within Marawi City, its residents struggle with the chaos that has disrupted their lives. Instead of helplessy looking on, you can take steps in helping them weather the crisis. Here is a list of organizations which provide relief to Marawi:
Kaya Natin! Movement for Good Governance and Ethical Leadership
To donate food packs, hygiene kits, medicine, batteries, visit:
Address: Kaliraya Street, Doña Josefa, Quezon City.
Tel: (02) 711-9302 and (02) 256-1446.
Email: [email protected]
For cash donations:
Account Name: KN MOVEMENT FOR GOOD GOVERNANCE AND ETHICAL LEADERSHIP INC.
Bank: Bank of the Philippine Islands
Account Number: 3081 1163 84
The volunteer network, comprised of student councils and youth organizations ask for the following donations.
Food: ready-to-eat, no canned goods (no batchoy flavor for any of the donations), bottled water, non-perishable goods
Non-food items: hijabs, blankets, fully covered clothing, toiletries, sanitary napkins, medicine, first aid kits
Tentative drop-off points:
CASSC Office, College of Arts and Sciences, UP Manila
Office of the Student Regent, Vinzons Hall, UP Diliman
Room 19E, One Burgundy Residences, Katipunan Avenue
UPLB USC Office, Room 10, Student Union Building, UP Los Baños
Marvin Santiago – 0917 794 3055
Adrian Puse (KPL) – 0916 226 6436
Pat Cierva (UPM) – 0935 295 0875
Lee Jann Abes (UPM) – 0916 722 0210
Sam Vizcarra (UPD) – 0917 542 0918
Mackie Valenzuela (UPLB) – 0905 208 4934
To donate cash:
Account Name: College Editors Guild of the Philippines
Bank: Philippine Postal Savings Bank
Account #: 0001-003036-211
Student Council Alliance of the Philippines
To donate cash:
Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI)
Current Acct. No: 9331013363
Account Name: Xavier University
Branch: CDO-Divisoria Branch
Please specify that your donation is for the donation drive of Xavier University Central Student Government. Email the deposit slip to [email protected] for accounting purposes.
Francis +63932 228 4155
Isaac +63908 315 1257
Chevening Alumni Foundation of the Philippines
Account Name: CHEVENING ALUMNI FOUNDATION OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC
Account Number: 3351-01126-6
Bank: Philippine National Bank (PNB)
Branch: Makati C. Palanca Branch
Ateneo de Naga University
To donate halal food and non-food items (hijab, blankets, fully covered clothes, toiletries, sanitary napkins, medicine, and first aid kits) visit:
Address: donation booth at AdNU-SSG Office, 2nd Floor of Xavier Hall.
Contact: Bianca Melanie Medenilla Montero - 0977 200 2536
Adnu-Ssg Kasurog - 0927 517 3369
Tabang Sibilyan - Visayas
To donate water, halal food packs, raw materials for the community kitchen, hygiene kits and clothing, visit:
Temporary address: Conference Room, Room 202, JRDC Building, Osmena Boulevard, Cebu City.
Tel: 0908 900 1678
UP Mindanao Student Council
To drop off relief goods, go to the UP Mindanao atrium.
Wolfe Ote (USC Councilor for Committee Service) - 09758689437
Romen Wabina (USC Chairperson) - 09323283815.
Teach Peace Build Peace Movement
TPBPM, CLP and YGOAL aim to help affected children in Marawi. Please donate stuffed toys (except pigs), art supplies (sketchpads, pencils and crayons), and hygiene kits (soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrush, sanitary napkins).
Contact: 09158480230 (Ate Badet)
Email: [email protected]
TPBPM PEACE HOME (QUEZON CITY)
ADDRESS: 55 Esteban Abada St., Brgy. Loyola Hts. Quezon City
Contact Number: 0915840230, (Bernadette Fernandez)
YGOAL OFFICE (MAKATI CITY)
ADDRESS: Unit 207 Robelle Hotel 877 JP Rizal St, Makati City
Contact Number: 09954487661, JR Demecais
For cash donations:
Account Name: Teach Peace Build Peace Movement Inc.
Account Number: 000040837270
Branch: SM Makati