The Maranao People Development Center (MARADECA) Inc in partnership with the Catholic Relief Service (CRS) through its project – Applying the Binding, Bonding, and Bridging for Peace (A3B4P) conducted the Psychosocial Debriefing for the Internally Displaced People (IDP) in Iligan City, Baloi and Saguiaran from August to October 2017.
Women, youth, and community leaders has been debriefed in the sessions. The sessions aimed at helping the participants overcome the anxiety caused by Marawi war.
May 23, 2017 was the day that shocked people. People were forced to evacuate from their homes and were only able to bring a few things, while others did not bring anything because they believed that the conflict will end sooner or later.
Due to fear, people left the city without any idea where to go and what future awaits them. What was on their mind is to leave the City in order to live. The Marawi siege left a painful mark to the people that would remind them of a City that was once peaceful and full of life.
In the activity there is “kumustahan”– a session for the participants for sharing and remembering their experiences on May 23. Participants have different ways of sharing. Most participants cried while sharing their experience, while others tried to hold themselves by smiling while talking.
The facilitator explains that crying is a great remedy to release the pain kept in the heart. Crying makes a person feel better and it is not forbidden to cry.
One woman participant in Mipaga, Saguiaran who was still mourning shared her story while crying “I am Samiara Bogabong from Lilod Madaya, Marawi City. I left Marawi on May 23 together with my sick husband and 5 children. My husband is very sick that even standing is very hard for him but during the siege he forced himself to drive our motorcycle just to reach Saguiaran where his relatives live.
Since then my husband did not get well and few days later he passed away. Since the day he died I tried not to talk about him but just now I am able to show the emotions I hid for the past few months and for that I am thanking this session that it became a venue for me to share without hesitating”.
The psychosocial debriefing process was helpful to ease the pain carried by the IDPs since they were forced to leave the City of Marawi City.
But this pain did not lose the hope of the people that someday they can return to the city, as one participant said,
“Our homes might have been damaged by the air strikes but our hope is still intact that sooner or later we will be able to rise again and live in prosperity in our beloved Marawi City.” Farhana S. Arimao