Ali, Aminola and Olan
Permanent shelter is the long-held dream of the internally displaced people (IDPs) of the 2017 Marawi Siege. That dream found its anchor on the on-going shelter construction through the Rebuilding Marawi Project. And then, Covid-19 pandemic occurs. The restrictions on mobility imposed by the Philippine government to stem the spread of Covid-19 slowed down the transportation of construction supplies and increased the cost, consequently affecting work at the construction site. To fill the gap, Ali Racman leads in the delivery of locally sourced sand and gravel through the livelihood project availed of Salaam Homeowners’ Association.
He says, “ As one of the internally displaced persons of the Marawi Siege, I feel for those who, like my family, are still in transitory shelters, staying in rented places and living with relatives. So even in this pandemic, it is important that the construction of our shelters continues. Delivering gravel and sand, despite the risks, is my contribution towards the common goal of Maranao IDPs.”
Aminola Cadapi, 23, stepped up when community health volunteers were needed at the road checkpoints as Covid-19 started to be recognized as a serious threat. With a thermal scanner, he checks the body temperature of passengers alighting from vehicles at the checkpoint entering the Municipality of Pantar. But, no, he is not from Pantar. It was the 2017 war in Marawi City that brought Aminola and his family here, 30 minutes away from where his family house was razed to the ground by bombs.
Aminola travels to Marawi City three days a week to serve at the clinic at the shelter construction site where permanent houses are being built for those displaced by the Marawi siege. As a trained health volunteer, he not only ensures that Covid-19 protocols are being followed at the construction site but is ready to attend to whoever needs some first aid attention from among the construction workers, project engineers, or home-partners like him.
“With the threat of Covid-19, we need to ensure that our shelter construction site remains Covid-free for our workers, project teams, and homepartners. My volunteering at the clinic and also in my community is my small contribution in these uncertain times. This is what makes me happy and this is how I learn a lot.”
Olan Piroangan Hadja Ali
Olan, 51, busies herself amid the pandemic. She attends to the rice stall at the satellite market as part of Un-Habitat’s Covid-19 Response As We Rebuild Marawi where she leads in selling various rice varieties sold at subsidized or wholesale prices. Alternately, she monitors the marketing cooperative which is the livelihood arm of Dawah Homeowners’ Association (HOA) she belongs to.
Having been displaced by the 2017 armed conflict in Marawi City, Olan, for almost three years now, together with other HOA Officers, have been the driving force in inspiring IDPs to actively participate in the rebuilding of Marawi. When asked why she volunteers, this is her reply: “Volunteering has its share of sacrifices – on my part, my time for my family is shared with my HOA and with my contributing to Covid-19 response. Volunteering can both be physically and mentally exhausting – but what makes everything worth the sacrifices is the thought that I am able to help other people.”