The siege of the Islamic City of Marawi affected nearly a million people.  Families lost lives and properties.  Structures like schools were burned down, displacing thousands of learners studying in public schools in what we now call “ground zero.”  Synergeia Foundation was one of the non-governmental organizations which came to Marawi to offer assistance.  Together with its partner multilateral institutions such as the USAID and UNICEF, Synergeia reached out to communities, parents, schools and local governments to advocate good governance practices for the effective delivery of education services to Marawi children. 

Engaging with the local government of Marawi City has been challenging.   The Local School Board is not active.  There are members, as provided under the Local Government Code, but the board does not actively meet.  They say they are busy with their other responsibilities in the city hall.  This was aggravated when the pandemic occurred which constrained the holding of meetings and gatherings. 

But the heavens sent us a strong advocate and ally in the person of Marawi City Councilor Abdani Alonto who is a member of the Peace Committee of the LGU.  The Synergeia Marawi Team comprised of Project Coordinator, Mr. Halil A. Bacarat, staff Mr. Fahad Balindong and Ms. Hanifa Mitomara, and young volunteers work closely with Councilor Alonto in all the Synergeia activities.  Councilor Alonto’s support during the capacity building and trust building workshops with Imams and asatidz of Marawi City and other LGUs of Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte is priceless.  Because of the Imams’ and asatidz’s respect for Councilor Alonto and his office, it became easier for the Synergeia team to connect and conduct the fellowship and training activities.   Councilor Alonto also served as facilitator in the SGC workshops and parents’ trainings.  He welcomed the opportunity to engage with parents, school administrators, teachers and barangay officials, and to listen to their problems.  He would take note of these challenges and promised to take these up with concerned offices in the city hall. 

A miracle can happen.  In one meeting of the Northern Mindanao Regional Education Council which is chaired by Cagayan de Oro Mayor Oscar Moreno, Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra showed up and apologized for his absence in most of Synergeia activities.  He promised to be more active in programs for the education of children. 

Slowly, the Synergeia Marawi Team has been able to reach out to the LGU.  When Synergeia donated a risograph to Marawi City for the printing of learners’ modules, the donation was made through the Local School Board which turned over the risograph machine to the City Division Office of the DepEd.  The LGU has also donated laptops and supplies for the printing of modules.

A Marawi Education Summit was successfully held in early 2021.  Local education summits are good venues to gather the community together.  They talk about the state of children’s education, identify problems and solutions, and get everyone’s commitment to the one goal of good education for all children.  Education summits foster community ownership of issues and solutions, and result in partnerships and collaborations. 

The theme of Marawi City’s education summit, “Kayang-kaya kung sama-sama” (we can do it if we are together), is very appropriate.  The summit gathered stakeholders from the local government led by Marawi Mayor Majul Gandamra, DepEd Division of City Schools led by Superintendent Pharida Sansarona, school principals, parents, SGCs, Sangguniang Kabataan representative, cultural leaders and barangay officials.   The Mayor’s presence gave greater weight to the importance of coming together and collaborating for the good of the Marawi children.  Mayor Gandamra calls the children the nation-builders of the future and commits that “no child shall be left behind” despite the hindrances in Marawi.  He rallied all attendees to join hands together for the recovery of Marawi and for the education of the children.  

Voices of the Health & Economic Summit

Dr. Ali Dalidig

City Health Officer II, Marawi City

As-salamu alaikum.

It is a great honor and privilege to be standing in front of you today and to be able to impart updates on the performance of Marawi on pressing matters that have probably tested the perseverance and engagement of this office in providing quality health services to the constituents of this city.

With joint efforts with the local government of Marawi City under the leadership of Atty. Majul Gandamra and the City Health Office, it is our pleasure to establish a health institution renowned for its excellence in health care through responsive, accessible, equitable, and efficient health care delivery system equipped with modern facilities; and our mission to ensure equitable, sustainable, responsible, and efficient health delivery system through the enhancement of human health resources, capacities, rationalization of health facilities, and innovative participatory approach which invokes responsibility among stakeholders to attain sustainable health conditions of Marawi constituents.

Republic Act 7160–otherwise known as Local Government Code of 1991, which is related to the devolution of health care service delivery to every local government unit–brings forth the foundation and prioritization of Marawi City government under the leadership of Atty. Majul Gandamra. The Marawi City government, alongside the City Health Office, proposes issues that will guide the delivery of holistic health and wellbeing to the citizenry through health promotion and policy making.

During our first visit, we made sure that all health facilities in Marawi City are well-established and functioning with basic medical equipment at our rural health units at the barangay health stations, as well as the acquisition of and access to effective dental services. All these facilities were completely ruined. Notwithstanding the devastation caused by the siege, medical services, including routine immunization, family planning program, and motherhood program as well as nutrition and environmental sanitation, were all delivered, including medical consultation, nutrition and emergency, mental health and psycho-social services, and sanitation and hygiene.

We were faced with multiple adversities yet we were able to overcome all of it through the support and constant guidance of the Marawi City local government. With Atty. Majul Gandamra, slowly, we were able to revive our health facilities. In fact, more than 50% was restored in less than a year and is now serving the population. In the course of the resettlement, outbreaks were encountered, including measles, dengue, and COVID. With this, the City Health Office exercised multiple efforts to accelerate recovery from these outbreaks.

The “Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio” commenced, garnering a total of five rounds of polio activity with commendable accomplishments of health warriors of Aid to Marawi. More than 100% was achieved in each round of polio activity. Dengue control awareness was enforced. A total of 18,200 or 97% of the children were vaccinated with measles vaccine despite the pandemic. Strict implementation of standard health protocols was implemented during the 21-day activity. All this amidst the horror of the siege. But we are being challenged to bring normal life to our Moro constituents.

We are faced with the COVID 19 pandemic. Health and prevention, safety and security in the homes, the communities’ declining socio-economic status, the disruption of everybody’s health, and the exhausted healthcare system–it was a nightmare but we remained unfazed in effectuating the maximum health protocol that is anchored on ensuring that the transmission of the COVID 19 virus be detained.

Also, under the leadership of Atty. Majul Gandamra, we were able to establish a COVID 19 quarantine facility that aims to provide temporary shelter and timely medical intervention to COVID-positive patients, including those manifesting asymptomatic to mild symptoms while availing of the provincial program for rapid testing to ensure that COVID 19 is detained and everyone is attended to and well taken care of.

COVID 19 urged us to strengthen the delivery of healthcare services and the vaccination rollout. Vaccines and health education were regular practice. As of the moment, the overall number of vaccinated in Marawi City is low. For the first dose, 36,721 or 55% and, for second dose, 34, 113 or 26%, with total administered vaccines of 73,270 or 55%. With the full cooperation of everybody, we achieved good results for “Bayanihan Bakunahan Round 1.” As you have seen on the slide, 15,643 or 12% accomplishment. With the support of the community for Rounds 2 and 3, we achieved 9,940 or 7% and 2809 or 2% respectively. That is why we really need the cooperation of everybody because health is not a concern of the city mayor. It is not the concern of the City Health officer. It is the concern of everybody. Nakita po natin sa “Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio” na lahat ng barangay ay nagsama-sama. We achieved more than 100%. Again, nagsama-sama ang mga barangay, ang mga communities, education, we achieved again more than 100%. As of now, walang may polio, walang measles. Na-control natin ang dengue. Dahil sa tulong ng barangay, dahil sa tulong nating lahat. Maraming salamat sa inyong tulong. Sana tuloy tuloy po iyon.

Here I am showing you a presentation of our 2021 undertaking, highlighting the importance of medical events that exhibit our determination to deliver quality health care services. Meron po tayong magse-serbisyo sa barangay. Isang initiative by honorable city mayor Atty. Majul Gandamra to bring medical services to the doorstep of every citizen. During the lockdown, during the ECQ, yung mga healthcare workers natin ay pumupunta sa inyong mga bahay.

As of the moment, 20 barangay health stations in the most affected areas are almost completed. Alam po ninyo iyan. Malapit na pong matapos. Sa least affected areas, seven out of 28 barangay stations were already turned over to the city government and we hope that we can also turn over to the barangays. Nandito po ang iba’t-ibang barangay natin. Meron silang pinapagawang barangay stations ngayon. Sa kabuuan, before the end of 2022 magkakaroon po tayo ng 67 barangay health stations. So before 2025, sana ma-kompleto natin ang 96 barangay health stations. As of now, we have three rural health buildings and two undergoing construction. Almost 70% done.

Hindi lang ho yun. Sa ngayon ay naumpisahan na rin ang polyclinic. Yung polyclinic ay patterned after the Cuban health system. Lahat ng specialties nandoon. Nandoon ang radiologist, nandoon ang internal medicine, nandoon yung OB, nandoon ang surgery. Five specialty clinics. Nandoon ho yun.

Ang ating pinapangarap ay magkaroon ng memorandum of understanding with the Amai Pakpak Medical Center and the Northern Mindanao Medical Center. Kasi ang isang doctor, bago mag-espesyalista, kailangan dumaan sa community training. So, ang trainees nila dito sa Marawi City will man our polyclinic. Meron din tayong kino-construct na temporary treatment and monitoring facility for COVID 19. More than 50% complete na po yun. Sa ganoon, kung biglang mag-surge uli, hindi tayo mabibigla. Meron na tayong temporary treatment and monitoring facility for our COVID 19 patients.

Finally, all these accomplishments will not be possible without the helping hand of every member of the community. I am urging the participation of every barangay in promoting and delivering quality health services, especially those areas that are isolated and construed to be having difficulties in accessing healthcare services. Rest assured that we will do everything to protect our constituents and to ensure that optimum health outcome is within the reach of residents of the city.

Ngayong March 10, magkakaroon uli tayo ng “Bakunahan Bayanihan.” Again, I am asking and requesting the support of the barangay persons. Kung wala ho kayo, hindi natin maaabot ang nagawa natin sa Marawi pagdating sa kalusugan. Ang sabi ko nga, health is not only the concern of the mayor but it is the concern of everybody.

With that I am extending my greetings. As-salamu alaikum.