Evacuees from Marawi who have streamed into Davao after terrorists ravaged their city last May are now feeling the brunt of displacement and looking for sources of income to tide them over.
The Mirror talked to two of them.
Asliah Usman, 33, is seven months pregnant. She, her husband and a son have been staying in the city since June when the government launched its campaign against the Maute terror group in Marawi.
With hunger creeping in, Asliah is now desperately looking for a source of income. “Unta mahatagan mi ug capital. Lisod walay panginabuhi. Gusto mi mag-arkila ug balay kay maulaw pud mi mag puyo sa paryente (I wish we will be given some capital. It’s difficult without a livelihood. We want to rent a space because we are also ashamed staying with our relatives),” she said. Asliah’s family now stays at the Mini Forest in Isla Verde.
Back in Marawi, Asliah worked under a short-term contract with the provincial government for small projects like helping out in land surveys. Her husband drove a passenger motorcycle.
Aside from finding work, Asliah is asking government to help displaced pupils such as her own son. She said she was required to present school credentials for her eight-year-old, who is now enrolled at the Rizal Elementary School.
“We cannot present school documents. We also don’t know where to locate his teacher,” Asliah said in the local dialect. The same is true for her nephew, who already stopped attending school, apparently because of shame.
Tahir Hadji Ajus, on the other hand, does not want to return in Marawi, unlike Asliah. He said he has nothing to return to in Marawi because his property has been damaged.
All he needs now, he said, is a little assistance to start a small business. Back in his hometown, he had a small space to sell vegetables.
Asliah and Tahir are only two of the 1,607 displaced individuals or 396 families who have sought refuge in Davao City after terrorists ravaged their land.
Deputy Mayor Randy Usman, a Maranao, said the evacuees are staying with relatives at the Mini Forest, a known Muslim area in the city. Others are spread out across 25 barangay halls.
The evacuees recently availed themselves of medical, dental and other free services organized by Task Force Davao.
This was in collaboration with the City Hall and eight government and non-government organizations which pooled their resources for “Kalipayaan: A Community Outreach Program for Marawi IDPs.” This was held Thursday at the Almendras Gym.
Usman was thankful that volunteers promptly responded to the project by offering their services and relief goods. Ayan C. Mellejor