By ROCAYA SUMNDAD OTICAL
March 30, 2019
|Former TESDA director general and now Lanao del Sur gubernatorial candidate Guiling Mamondiong asks Internally Displaced Persons housed in temporary shelters in Sagonsongan Area 1 in Marawi City to be patient and wait a little longer for their plight. (Photo by Rocaya Sumndad Otical)
MARAWI CITY: Former TESDA Director General Guiling Mamondiong was touched on the plight of the 2017 Marawi Siege internally displaced persons (IDPs) living in temporary shelters and tents when he personally saw their condition and shed tears as he listened to their stories.
Mamondiong kicked off his formal campaign as PDP-Laban official bearer for provincial governor of the province of Lanao del Sur by holding a consultation with the IDPs who are housed temporarily in the Sagonsongan Area 1 in this city on Friday.
Before the consultation proper, Mamondiong first visited the area and personally witnessed the plight of the evacuees.
He said he was pained in seeing how the displaced families are situated and in listening to their clamor and suffering.
He was surprised to see the size of the temporary shelters accommodating the IDPs. He said the agreement was three rooms per unit but the actual size he saw they are occupying is too small and very far from the agreed unit size.
The evacuees told Mamondiong how difficult was to live without water for months.
They said they had to pitch water from the other side of the road which is very dangerous so that two of their children were hit by a running car as the children were crossing the street to pitch water from the other side.
The IDPs were also suffering to use uncomfortable toilets which they said were only usable in the first three months of their stay.
Evacuees need to return to their homes
The IDPs, especially those living in tents, sought the help of Mamondiong to relay immediately to President Rodrigo Duterte of their true plight as the President may not know it. They asked Mamondiong to tell the President their utmost need to return to their homes in Ground Zero.
The 16,000-strong Suara Miyamagoyag led by Datu Meno D. Manabilang said they could not bear anymore of their two-year sufferings in the temporary shelters.
Ms. Johara Pacalundo, focal person of the Suara, was crying in saying that they don’t need any more the relief goods provided them by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) which are rotten dried-fish, rotten monggo, expired sardines, hardened sugar and coffee and other assistance that even animals could hardly swallow.
Pacalundo said they do not need temporary shelters for five years, adding that what they need is their return to their homes.
Many of the displaced persons are crying in front of Mamondiong. They said Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) did not listen to them when TFBM’s chairman Retired General Eduardo del Rosario consulted with them recently at the provincial gymnasium here.
They said for expressing their right and their sufferings, TFBM instead called the Maranaos ungrateful, quoting del Rosario who said, ‘Why don’t you thank the government for all the assistance it has extended to you.”
They said, “For two years, the evacuees have no water, running after every fire-track for water, and for two years, the relief goods are not enough for their sustenance.”
Hopeless, IDPs demand del Rosario resignation
They said they feel hopeless on whom they can entrust their lives after two years of being displaced.
Now, the evacuees are asking the resignation of del Rosario for they feel their real plight does not reach the government as if del Rosario is just taking them for a ride.
Maranao leaders had earlier sought for the abolition of TFBM for its alleged failure to rebuild the city almost two years after it was devastated during the Marawi Siege.
Accusing the TFBM leadership of “incompetence,” the Maranao leaders said they were pinning their hope on the newly established Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) to rehabilitate Marawi City.
Pacalundo said they sensed there were anomalies in the delay of the rehabilitation, especially in the constant changing of contractors.
Mamondiong said he had talked with del Rosario and Escallada about this concern. “There are many vacant shelters, why did they not accommodate those living in tents?” he asked.
He told the evacuees, “This problem is not only your problem but the problem of every Maranao. It is useless to have leaders who cannot see and feel this pain of their people.”
He emotionally begged them to be patient or wait for a little longer. “It is only more than a month from now and new local government unit officials will be elected. Vote for the candidates whom you believe can help deliver you from these sufferings, who can alleviate your welfare” He said.
Why Mamondiong runs
As for his running for Lanao del Sur provincial governor, Mamondiong said he did not want to run because he already was holding a very good position (as TESDA secretary) but the plight of the IDPs and the people of Lanao deln Sur compelled him to run.
He said he is not campaigning that they vote for him. He enjoined them to examine his background first whether he deserves the position he is aspiring for. “It is your power to choose your leaders,” he added.
But if given a chance to win, Mamondiong said the first priority he and his team will take care of is the plight of the IDPs.
“Even if Lanao del Sur is developed including its different municipalities, it is useless if Marawi is left because Marawi is the mirror, the show-window of our culture and Islam, and you are the ones who are to greatly change, for you are the mirror of Marawi. So vote for those who can truly help you,” Mamondiong added. (RSP)