UPDATES 03 June 2012
About the Mandulog Mission… Typhoon Sendong (international code name: Washi) washed away entire villages as it whipped the southern part of the Philippines in the early hours of Saturday, December 17. In its aftermath, Typhoon Sendong left a trail of flattened homes, broken bridges and upended vehicles in the Northern Mindanao Region. The cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan on the island of Mindanao were worst hit when typhoon hit shore late on Friday and early on Saturday, sending torrents of water and mud through villages and stripping mountainsides bare. According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), typhoon Sendong affected a total number of 91,858 families or 597,669 persons in 260 barangays, in 30 municipalities and 8 cities in the 13 provinces of Region VI, Region VII, Region IX, Region X, Region XI, CARAGA and the ARMM. Death toll mainly caused by flashfloods and landslides which swept away houses into rivers and out to sea induced by Typhoon Sendong has reached 1,403, mostly were women and children; while 1,089 more persons still missing. As retrieval operations are still going on, thousands of families are still staying in evacuation as their houses were destroyed and swept away by flash floods. The NDRRMC also reported that a total of 6,917 houses were damaged (with 3,127 totally damaged and 7,218 partially destroyed). The Rural Missionaries of the Philippines-Northern Mindanao Sub-Region (RMP-NMR) and the Camillian Task Force (CTF) immediately responded to the immense humanitarian crises brought by TS Washi, and delivered life-saving food and non-food items and services to four of the hardest-hit villages of Iligan—Mandulog, Lanipao, Dulag and Kalilangan, collectively called as the Mandulog hinterland villages, thus the ‘Mandulog Mission.’ The Rural Missionaries of the Philippines or RMP is national organization, inter-diocesan and inter-congregational in character, of men and women religious, priests and lay people. Founded by the Association of Major Women Religious Superiors of the Philippines (AMWRSP) in 1969, RMP members commit themselves to support peasant’s quest for justice, freedom, access to commons and genuine agrarian reform. They live and work with the peasants in their struggle for genuine agrarian reform. RMP-Northern Mindanao Sub-Region or RMP-NMR has been established to hasten their missionary works in the Region. CTF is an organization that carries on the humanitarian mission of the Camillians, delivering relief (physical, psychoemotional, social, spiritual) and empowering persons who are victims of natural and human-made disasters. 1
With the generous support of the Chiesa Catollica Italiana (CEI), the Mandulog Mission is now on its second phase of intervention with the project entitled, ‘Rebuilding Lives: Post TS Washi Phase II Disaster Emergency Program in Mandulog, Diocese of Iligan.’ The program seeks to aid in repairing destroyed shelter of the affected communities, revive economic activities by recovering farms and establishing of community cooperatives, installation of health and mental health projects, and increasing resilience and capacities of community organizations.
The Mission beneficiaries The target beneficiaries are the 850 families from 18 communities of the 4 Moro villages of Mandulog (265 families), Lanipao (233), Dulag (146), and Kalilangan (206) in Iligan City. These villages were among the hardest hit by TS Washi, but are least-served on accounts of religion. These villages are also remotely located making it extra harder for humanitarian organizations to reach. The village of Mandulog is situated at the foot of hilly parts of Iligan and surrounded by two rivers (Kapai and Bayug rivers, joining together and called ‘Mandulog River’), that was that overflowed and let loose deadly waters that killed 33 individuals from the village alone, with 23 missing up to this day. The rampaging waters washed out 245 houses and partially damaged more than 300 others, destroyed the mosque, school, and farms of the local populace. Other target areas near Mandulog, the villages of Lanipao, Kalilangan and Digkilaan were also affected, with rain water causing landslides that damaged houses and farms, and devastated the bridge connecting these villages to the city center. Relief goods and supplies need to be transported via helicopter to reach these areas since roads are impassable up to now.
The target beneficiaries are poor peasant communities cultivating small farm lots, and mainly rely on individual and backward farming practices. The term ‘Moro’ is a collective term referring to the Islamized 13 ethno-linguistic tribes of Mindanao. Truth untold, the Moro have experienced centuries of brutal and painful history in defending their lands. They have gone—and are ceaselessly going through—a systematic policy of driving them out of Mindanao in which they are now a minority. They have been marginalized with the right to self-determination denied, and traditional culture subdued. Beyond their territories, discrimination and exclusion confront them thereby narrowing their choices. Repairing homes, re-strengthening community organizations, recovering farms At the onset of the second phase, the project aided 183 families in Mandulog and 25 families in Kalilangan in repairing their homes destroyed by TS Washi by handing over shelter repair kits on 6-10 March 2012. Integrating rights-based approach in the rehabilitation efforts, the second phase of the project ensured the strengthening of community based organizations in the four villages to ensure stakeholders’ participation and local ownership. It has restrengthened formations of the Suara Bangsamoro (Voice of Bangsamoro), an existing community organization with chapters in each of the villages. In the village of Mandulog, the village chapter was able to convene its General Assembly on 26-27 May 2012 and elected new sets of officers. Earlier, under the village chapter, seven sub-village formations were able to hold their respective assemblies and participated in adjusting the project components that would tailor-fit every community’s needs. The General Assembly, with representatives from various sub-village chapters, then finalized the project components, including the over-all policies that will govern its implementation. The General Assembly decided to pursue the seeds and farm tools dispersal among members on 9-10 June 2012 to start planting and recover their farms. In the villages of Lanipao, Dulag and Kalilangan, the social preparation is in progress. Each of the village has formed their village-wide Suara Bangsamoro Council of Leaders to facilitate the eventual reestablishment of the village chapters, and plan and execute the project components. In the coming months, once seeds and farm tools dispersal have be completed, the communities will be further organized into clusters to manage farm animals and fowls that will be dispersed for collective ownership, and to run the multipurpose cooperatives.
"We starved. Our corn and bananas were washed away by flood. Most of our community members' houses were destroyed, and we can't sleep at night when it's raining because our roofs were destroyed. "We did not receive enough help from our government. Thanks to various NGOs who were there to assist us in times very challenging. "We thank RMP-NMR and CTF for believing in the organized capacities of community organizations such as ours, the Suara Bangsamoro. Their interventions never corrupted our minds, and were very careful so as not to make us dependent on aids. Along with their interventions is empowerment.”
Mona L. Pamanay Beneficiary Chairperson of Suara Bangsamoro, Purok 21
Healing the hurt: Community Theatre Arts Workshops snowballing An integral part of the program is the launching of mental health project to reduce cases of trauma and aid the childrensurvivors walk towards sustained mental health recovery by engaging themselves in artistic endeavors. Thus, the series of Community Theatre Arts Workshops (CTAW) for children. As initial step, the project organized a 3-day training for trainors and facilitators of CTAW attended by 24 youth participants from the Liga ng Kabataang Moro (LKM or League of Moro Youth), Youth of Iglesia Filipina Independiente, Anakbayan, and the Media and Communication Studies (COMSTUD) of the Mindanao State University. The training, which was held on 16-19 April 2012, was facilitated by renown theatre actor and director Rommel Linatoc, PhD, head of Christian Unity and Ecumenical Relations (CUER) of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP). After the training, participants showcased their performances in the April 20 Earth Day Concert in Iligan City Plaza, and in the Earth Day Caravan Rally to Cagayan de Oro City joined by around 6,000 marchers, on 21 and 22 April 2012, respectively. On 9-12 May 2012, the first CTAW was held in Mandulog participated in by 22 children. Trainors from the COMSTUD facilitated the activity. As an offshoot of the workshop, an LKM chapter in Mandulog was established, with a Theatre Arts Collective under its wings. At the end of the workshop, they have showcased what they have learned in a community cultural gathering attended by almost a hundred elders of the village. Community-based theatre arts workhops in Lanipao, Kalilangan and Dulag are to be held in the coming days.