MARAWI CITY, February 3 — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) strengthened partnership with international non- government organizations and government agencies in effort to continue assist residents affected by last year’s five-month conflict in this city.

Jackiya Lao, DSWD 12 assistant regional director for administration, said Saturday the agency forged partnership with the Department of Agriculture, Department of Agrarian Reform, Food and Agriculture Organization, and the World Food Programme to help rebuild the livelihood of residents.

Currently, Lao said they are supporting 13 Agrarian Reform Communities in Marawi and expanded to five more villages to facilitate food availability not only among the farmers, but also of the returned displaced families.

Residents dispalced by armed conflict in Marawi City planting vegetables outside their evacuation camp. (Photo by Task Force Bangon Marawi)

At the same time, Lao said they tapped the Department of Trade and Industry and TESDA to bring government’s basic services to the people.

“Upon their return, seeds and inputs were provided by DA and DAR. These were complemented by FAO with their seeds and broiler package. The partnership with DSWD 12 through the cash for work assistance have not only addressed emergency food and other needs of newly returned families, but has also leveraged other resources from other agencies after seeing the impact of the speedy changes in the communities,” Lao said.

“It’s serves as psychosocial also for the beneficiaries,” she added, citing the program is being closely monitored by DSWD staff.

She said their intervention as part of convergence covered 4,768 farmers.

“This will address other needs identified by the communities, including farm tools, farm animals, equipment and other resources to help build their livelihood better, especially in increasing their production and linking them to the market,” DSWD 12 regional director Bai Zorahayda T. Taha.

“Aside from the necessary inputs including post-harvest facilities, this will need intensified training for new technologies, and other complementary skills like food production. Through the communications platform of Task Force Bangon Marawi, the convergence will also intensify its information campaign,” she added.

Last year, clashes flared up in this city when soldiers and policemen moved to arrest Isnilon Hapilon, the acknowledged head of the Islamic State in Mindanao who is on the list of US most wanted terrorist. However, they were met by a big force of gunmen composed of militants from the Maute group, backed by an undetermined number of foreign fighters.

After five months of gun-battle, Hapilon and Omarkhayam Maute, one of the leaders behind the Maute Terrorist Group, along with 974 other militants, were killed by the military. Nearly half million people were displaced. (JBM/DSWD)