AFTER the 5-month war ended, a new challenge has emerged. What people want now is immediate action to rebuild their homes, the City of Marawi–and most, importantly, their lives.

As a bakwit (evacuee) myself, “kailangan ame so walay” (we need shelter) a place called home, a place where we can live peacefully, a place where we can start recapturing our lives back.

As of this writing, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) have secured nine barangays of Marawi. People from that area are now returning to their homes.

Some internally displaced persons (IDPs) said, “what will happen to us, our home was destroyed by the siege, we don’t have a place to return to, if we return, we need shelter, electricity, supply of water and job in order to live. We can’t assure that our life can be back to normal if we return, as of now we don’t want to return yet.”

This is generally the sentiment of the people of Marawi. While the long queues and the tedious process of re-entering their areas imposed by the military are difficult enough, discovering that their houses have been destroyed and became unlivable is so frustrating.

Those whose houses are not in the ground zero but were evacuated and their houses were looted and partly destroyed equally their need. The problem is they are not given priority.

Naif B. Alawi a Barangay Peace Action Team volunteer and also an evacuee said, “include them to be part of the government program in Brgy. Sagonsongan (housing program) even though they don’t belong to those people living in the ground zero area, they are still Filipinos, who need assistance from the government, who needs mercy, what can be a solution to their problems?”

We the IDPs are suffering, we also need help and assistance.