In the community where the conflict is present, Peace can be planted & nurtured.
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BARANGAY INUDARAN, Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte -- The physical reconstruction of this village which suffered very badly from the “all-out war” waged by then president Joseph Estrada in 2000, is just beginning. During the war, 120 houses were burned and the village’s elementary school was totally damaged. The war displaced 670 residents from four areas. The military declared it overran the Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s alleged camp, Jack Mack. Although villagers have undergone psychosocial therapy, seminars and trainings for healing, they continue to dream of rebuilding their houses, restoring their barangay and normalizing their lives so that they could resume farming free from threats.
On Saturday, March 19, a team from GOP - United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and European Union (EU) Program on Rehabilitating Internally Displaced Persons, led by its project officer Diosita Andot, held a Lakbay Kalilintad (Journey for Peace) with Pakigdait, Inc., a non-governmental organization. Relief operations and a medical outreach program were extended to 120 families here. “These relief goods are just an acknowledgement that poverty is still being experienced by the war-torn,” explained Andot.
She told residents that 20 core shelters will be built here. “There are varied interpretations of peace. It could be absence of war, it could be food security but the bigger dimension demands that our purpose and intentions for peace remain in our hearts, otherwise resurgence of conflicts may take place if we become immune to violence,” she added.
Food and medicines were extended not only to war-torn communities in Inudaran but also in Barangay Delabayan of Kauswagan municipality and five barangays in Poona Piagapo town.
Some 150 households in Delabayan and 495 households in Poona Piagapo towns benefited from the day-long mission.
Each family was given seven kilos of rice, noodles, milk, beans, salt, cans of sardines, a pack of dried fish, a blanket, a plastic container, and a mosquito net.
Barangay Inudaran was declared “zero population” until recently when 30 residents returned through the Balik Inudaran Program aided by Catholic Relief Services.
Pakigdait project officer Abel Moya explained that 10 of the core shelters will be constructed near the barangay hall of Inudaran and the other 10 will be constructed at the site where the former Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels had their “Camp John Mack” before the all-out war was declared in 2000. Other member of the team took turns viewing the craters from bombs dropped by OV-10s.
Gubar Pumbaya, barangay chair of Inudaran thanked donor organizations but conveyed the problem of distributing these goods because almost 400 persons went to the barangay hall expecting to avail of the relief goods intended for 120 households only.
“Kung pwedeng bukas na kaagad simulan ang pag-gawa, eh,” (if only construction could begin tomorrow), he said of the core shelters, explaining that “most of us stay in makeshift huts for us to be able to farm and return to the poblacion again where we stay with our relatives and friends.”
Florenda Mahilom, a resident of the barangay who survived the attack with a bullet wound in her right leg, cried when she received the relief goods.
“Wala jud ko nagdahom nga mahatagan mi og hinabang kay kasagaran sa rehabilitation didto ra man sa Delabayan,” (I didn’t expect I would receive some assistance because most of the projects are in Delabayan).
At noon, the team moved to Delabayan, four kilometers away.
Houses made of bamboo were built by UNDMP for them. They also have a water reservoir, a youth center, a people’s center, a barangay health center with complete facilities and maternal clinic, a communal warehouse with corn sheller, a mosque and a community-owned farm-tool.
The UNDP program made this a peace and development community with the help of other Christian organization and local government units.
The barangay has also been included in the electrification program. Four electric sewing machines and 17 manual sewing machines were also provided the women villagers through AusAid. The women said they will have to undergo training on sewing.
Camlon Moner, barangay captain of Delabayan and president of the association of barangays, told the team, ““time will come when we will no longer be receiving assistance but we will be helping other communities displaced by war.”
The boxes of medicines were immediately put in the health center. A resident said, “we need a physician and a nurse as well as resident midwife here.”
“What is happening in this barangay could also happen to other conflict areas. They will have development too,” Moner added. “This barangay has become a model of transformed community. May you share what you learned to other communities and strengthen your commitments,” Andot told those who flocked the center.
In Poona-Piagapo, villagers gathered at the municipal hall where distribution of relief goods was going to be held. Salem Andang, barangay chair of Tangclao, said villagers in eight barangays of Poona Piagapo were displaced by the war in 2000 and 2002 but the program covers only five barangays. Andang said houses of the villagers were burned in barangays Tangclao, Maliwanag, Nunungan, Cadayunan, Cabasaran, Pantaoraya and Cormatan.
He said the Department of Social Welfare and Development has provided 26 shelters in Nunungan, eight in Maliwanag and 14 in Tangclao. “There are still 53 houses that have yet to be built,” he said.
Andot told the community that there will be 10 core shelters that will be constructed in Barangay Maliwanag by April.
Medical Outreach Programs.
|Traces of bombed area.|
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