Marawi folks less convinced Duterte has concern for Muslims – SWS
MANILA, Philippines – A newly released Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showed only 30% to 50% of Marawi residents are convinced President Rodrigo Duterte “has concern for Muslims” – much lower than the provincial average of 83% both in the entire Lanao del Sur and neighboring Maguindanao.
“Marawi respondents were less convinced Duterte has concern for Muslims,” said SWS fellow-in-residence and Mindanao expert Steve Rood, who presented the survey results on Wednesday, July 18.
Marawi residents living in IDP camps or evacuation centers are feeling more neglected, with 30% saying they think Duterte is concerned about Muslims and 36% saying they think he is not concerned. It’s a net of -6.
In comparison, 50% of Marawi residents who are not in IDP camps said they believe he is concerned about Muslims while 24% said he is not concerned. It’s a net of 26.
The survey was conducted from April 12-15, a month before the siege of Marawi marked its first year and government rehabilitation work was marked by repeated delays. SWS polled 100 Marawi residents and another 100 each from Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao to serve as comparisons.
The SWS survey was titled “April 2018 Post-Conflict Expectations in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur, and Maguindanao.” It’s a project with the Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy and Chemonics.
Lives are 'worse now'
The same poll showed that majority of the Marawi residents – 56% to 80% – found the “present quality” of their lives to be “worse now.” It deviates from the general responses from the entire province with 48% saying their lives are “better now” and only 20% saying it is “worse now.” (READ: A painful homecoming for Marawi evacuees)
The poll showed that 78% to 82% of Marawi residents found the national government to be “primarily responsible” for the rehabilitation of the city, a commitment Duterte made to the residents. The implementation has been met by delays, however. (READ: Chinese-led Bangon Marawi consortium disqualified due to fund shortage)
The experience of Tacloban City after Super Typhoon Yolanda and Zamboanga City after the 2013 siege are not inspiring optimism among Marawi residents, said Camad Edres of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos, who was tapped to weigh in on the results of the SWS survey.
“If government was not able to fulfill its promise to Yolanda victims, how much more its promise to Muslims?” Edres said.
At least 50,000 Marawi residents – higher if renters are included – are still unable to return to their homes in areas ravaged last year by the 5-month battle with local armed groups linked with international terrorist network Islamic State (ISIS). Clearing operations are continuing and the government will take several more months to reconstruct public facilities before the residents may be allowed back.
High optimism about the future
Despite their opinions of Duterte, Marawi residents are generally optimistic about the future.
While a majority of Marawi residents feel their situations are “worse now,” 32% to 40% believe it “will be better” next year. Only 10% believe it “will be worse” next year.
There is high optimism that Marawi will fully recover – 72% to 86% among Marawi residents, 82% in the entire province, and 92% in neighboring Maguindanao.
Majority of Lanao del Sur residents, including Marawi (60% to 72%), also believe that damaged areas in Marawi will “fully recover” within Duterte’s term. The optimism is higher in Maguindanao, where 83% said Marawi will recover within the President’s term.
Satisfaction with government
The poll showed that 68% to 78% of Marawi residents appreciated assistance in terms of relief operations, shelter, and financial aid for evacuees as among the “good things” done by the government. But they blamed “bombing, air strikes, destruction of Marawi, and displacement” as among the “bad things or shortcomings by the government.”
Marawi and Lanao del Sur residents gave the highest satisfaction ratings to local officials – barangay government (net of 82 to 89), city and municipal government (net of 68 to 87), provincial government (net of 56 to 74), and the ARMM regional government (net of 58 to 72).
In comparison, satisfaction with the national government was a net of 42 to 64.
Marawi residents gave “very good” to “excellent” trust ratings to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and “moderate” to “excellent” trust ratings to Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM).
Marawi residents said they trust religious and traditional leaders like imam, alim, sultan, and datus the most. But they also gave high ratings to police, military, and non-governmental organizations.
The trusts ratings for the security sector and TFBM were met with questions during the open forum, however.
A resident from Marawi shared how locals have grown suspicious of the military for preventing residents of the former battle area from returning. Residents have called on the government to allow them to rebuild their own homes even as the government has yet to fix the public infrastructure.
Moving forward, the survey also showed how almost all of Marawi and Lanao del Sur residents (at least 94% to 95%) want to be consulted about rehabilitation plans and want Islamic (92% to 98%) and Maranao (98%) cultures and traditions to be respected. (READ: Residents to gov't planners: Build better Marawi for us)
A majority (66% to 70%) also want “a few damaged areas left in Marawi to serve as reminder to the residents of the armed conflict that happened there.”
The survey also showed that 44% to 64% believe that rehabilitation will be better if money was given directly to the residents.
The poll results also showed that land disputes – which is expected to complicate the rehabilitation of Marawi – may be best resolved by “consulting” a “respected community personage,” “some ulama in the community,” or “Shari’a lawyer” rather than filing cases in courts. – Rappler.com