Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Chairman and CEO Sen. Dick Gordon immediately mobilized the Red Cross for relief for evacuees after the forces lay siege to Marawi, late into the night of May 23, 2017.
PRC sets up a war room at the National Headquarters, together with its executives, While Sen. Dick Gordon contacted officials of Marawi, his Mindanao-based Senate staff, and Red Cross administrators for the area to get real-time updates of the situation.
In response, Chairman Gordon deployed a Humanitarian Caravan to provide clearing operations, water, and health services to the war-torn area.
Gordon flew into the city to assess the situation. He oversaw operations for first aid, medical tents, psychosocial support, and relief goods for women who were the most vulnerable demographic during the armed conflict.
As the war ensued, many of our noble servicemen were wounded or died. Once such was First Lieutenant Kent Fagyan who was deployed to defend the area, and together with two other colleagues, was injured in a close encounter. On July 25, 2017, at the Senate floor, an emotionally-touched Sen. Gordon saluted the 1Lt. Fagyan for his selfless duty to defend the republic.
By August 2018, Sen. Gordon toured the area with Lanao Del Sur Governor Mamintal A. Adiong Jr. to assess the current situation. PRC also distributed PHP 10,000 cash assistance to the most vulnerable in partnership with the International Committee of the Red Cross.
A year later, ICRC President Peter Maurer joined Sen. Gordon for a follow-up visit to Marawi to further assess the additional needs of the community.
As a result, the PRC continues to assist Marawi’s residents, including the latest distribution during Ramadan of sacks of rice, Halal groceries, and other goods on May 25, 2021, with a grant of P25million from the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center.
“The Philippine Red Cross and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will help our brothers and sisters in Marawi to rise and restart their lives with healthy bodies and healthy minds. We are with you every step of the way,” Gordon said.
The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) reaffirmed its commitment to boost the recovery efforts for people displaced by the 2017 conflict in Marawi by providing access to income-generating activities.
In a field visit last June 3, PRC Chairman Richard Gordon announced that the organization will provide sewing machines to over a hundred affected households as an effort to restore livelihood sources.
“The Red Cross is not just about deploying medical tents and providing relief. We are not a handout society. The Red Cross is an organization that enables. This is why it is important that we help people restore their livelihood sources,” Gordon said.
This statement was echoed by International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) President Peter Maurer, who is in the country for an official mission, noting that the organization will also continue to address humanitarian concerns of people affected by conflicts.
“Just like Chairman Gordon, I believe in the importance of empowering people and helping people help themselves. This is a philosophy that we both strongly adhere to. We will continue to do so until the parents can go back to work and the children can go back to school,” Maurer said.
Since day one of the Marawi siege, PRC has been closely working with ICRC to assist the affected communities from relief to recovery.
The joint early recovery operations provided livelihood and shelter repair assistance for a total of 6,014 families from the most affected areas, including over 2,000 returnees who used the P10,000-cash grant to start small businesses.
In Saguiaran, Lanao del Sur, the PRC conducted hygiene-promotion activities and mobilized a network of volunteers to support the ICRC’s improvement of a water and sanitation facility that would benefit between 6,000 to 11,000 residents and displaced people.
PRC and ICRC will continue recovery efforts until the people get back on their feet.
TWO YEARS after the Marawi siege, the early recovery program of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) has enabled over 6,000 displaced families to build new homes and start income-generating activities.
The P30.1-million project, supported by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), covered household livelihood and shelter repair assistance for a total of 6,014 families from the most affected areas.
“When we help, we don’t just give. It is important that we also empower. When we visited the people of Marawi in 2017, we told them ‘Babangon tayo’ and we remained committed to this mission. Two years after the siege, this commitment has shown results,” PRC Chairman Richard Gordon said.
A total of 2,307 returnees to 16 barangays received P10,000-household livelihood assistance from PRC and ICRC.
PRC’s Post Distribution Monitoring (PDM) report shows the majority of the beneficiaries used the capital for small businesses, such as sari-sari stores, retail shops, and eateries. Others ventured into transportation (tricycle, habal-habal), construction and carpentry, fishing, farming, and casual labor.
The PDM report also shows that 98 percent of the household livelihood assistance recipients’ main income source came from the Red Cross.
The Red Cross also distributed shelter toolkits to 3,792 families, inclusive of 1,385 families from 11 evacuation centers in Lanao Del Sur and Lanao Del Norte and 2,407 households from three Kambalingan barangays.
The shelter materials were used to repair roofs and walls, as well as to expand their houses for livelihood activities.
“We also established our Red Cross 143 program for community volunteers to help us respond to disasters and emergencies quickly. This is how we attain resilience,” Gordon added.
PRC also continues to provide safe and clean water to communities in evacuation centers. Since 2017, 29,514,700 liters of water have been served in 26 barangays and evacuation centers.
In December 2017, the Provincial Government of Lanao del Sur recognized the Red Cross for being one of the first to provide humanitarian assistance.
When the conflict broke out on May 23, 2017, Gordon mobilized the staff and volunteers from the nearby PRC Chapters and immediately deployed first aid, welfare, relief, and hygiene promotion teams.
PRC, with the support of ICRC, also set up a basic healthcare unit to ensure the health of evacuees.