Marawi locals launched the Marawi Reconstruction Conflict Watch (MRCW), an independent and neutral multi-stakeholder group that will continuously engage with government, its private sector partners, aid agencies, and other civil society organizations to help mitigate violent conflict that may result from the reconstruction process.

Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Ms. Amanda Gorely highlighted the event today in Iligan as keynote speaker in the launching of MRCW, an organization partnered with international NGOs like International Alert (IA), Maranao People Development Center (MARADECA) and Australian Aid (AusAid).

Image via Amanda Gorely Twitter post

Families and clans affected by the conflict, internally-displaced businesses, religious leaders, community leaders including women and the youth, academia, and NGO representatives compose the MRCW.

Nikki de la Rosa, country manager of International Alert Philippines (IAP), said the MRCW was born out of a series of dialogues that IAP conducted with clan members together with the World Bank and the Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM).

Sultan Nasser Sampaco, chairman of the Marawi Sultanate League, said the group intends to harness the people’s deep understanding of the local context and the web of formal and informal institutions that govern the city “to ensure that the rebuilding process is people-centered, informed by best practices, and conflict-sensitive.”

Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM), the government arm leading the rehabilitation process, had previously announced it will begin reconstruction of the city’s most affected area (MAA) in late August.

MARADECA council member Sinab Ibrahim said the MRCW will surface critical information on risks and issues that citizens have and propose actions to address these.

Among the issues raised are: revenge killings due to the loss of lives, properties, livelihoods and businesses; land-related conflict that may re-ignite during the period of reoccupation of the main-affected area; allocation and release of reparation and compensation package if deemed unjust; and violent extremist tapping into local grievances to expand recruitment.

Fedelinda Booc Tawagon, President of Dansalan College, said the MRCW will regularly meet with concerned agencies to assess the economic, political, social, and cultural effects of the reconstruction process from awarding of the Joint Venture Agreement with the developer, the construction proper, return of the residents to the main affected area (MAA) and post-reconstruction.

Dansalan College, the only Christian school that operated in the Islamic City of Marawi was burned by the Maute group and was completely destroyed by government airstrikes during the siege.

IA Peace and Conflict Adviser Francisco Lara, Jr., said the partners will link the MRCW with experts like auditors, engineers, development and conflict specialists, who will help the people decide on their recommendations.

Submitted by Kicker Daily News guest writer Ted Khan Resma Juanite.