Philippines: The Youth of Marawi

31 December 2020|JRS Asia Pacific

Youth groups celebrating Duyog Christmas in the Philippines. (9 December 2020)

Marawi is still in the process of rebuilding, with many families still displaced. Internally displaced persons (IDPs) face numerous concerns such as discrimination, discontinuation and disruption of education, among others. The slow process of rebuilding after the conflict, the continued displacement of the affected, and the economic downturn may form into a contemporary mix of factors that may cause tensions that are harder to alleviate.

JRS see the important role of the family and the community, in preventing interreligious conflict. To promote peace among returned IDPs and IDPs of barangays of origin Guimba and Datu Saber, intercultural and peace-building activities, as well as leadership and organization development trainings, were provided by JRS.

Datu Saber youths discussed how they were active in community activities prior to Marawi siege while Guimba youths had been part of a group called Domanday youths which had been long inactive. Despite this however, trust is not an issue among them. Youths would like more unity through sports or any community initiatives in order for them to see each other more often.

Parents of both these communities agree that it is beneficial to organize youth activities as it promotes unity, peace-building, and good conduct among youths. They agreed that youth activities should be initiated again in their communities. Youths suggested to organize sports, music, friendship games, clean-up drive, and activities that will support the preservation of the Moro culture and livelihood support for income-generating activities.

The observed trust and confidence among youths had been evident with the unity, cooperation, and teamwork within the community which includes the leaders and their parents. Youths exude confidence in the offered activities—they voice out their concerns, ideas, and opinions about youth activities that should be done within the year, and they are active in their participation. Respect and understanding can also be seen among the community who encourages and provides support to the youth organizations, which in turn gives the youths more confidence.

All activities are successfully conducted even with the pandemic situation. Youths also maintain a group account on Facebook messenger for continuous communication where they provide updates on current situation, and other information and concerns.