by Septrin John Calamba

MSU-IIT and Cooperative Development Authority-ARMM collaborate for Social Enterprise Intervention Program for Marawi Cooperatives.

‘Partnership can champion a social enterprise to rebuild Marawi City.’

Participants raised their hands when asked if they want back their normal life after Marawi siege.

 When President Duterte announced the liberation of Marawi after a 5-month-battle against the Maute group, various efforts for rehabilitation of the city are eventually taking place. But these efforts require collaborations with different stakeholders and must be grounded with direct participation of the people from Marawi.

 The MSU-IIT Department of Extension and Cooperative Development Authority of ARMM forged the social enterprise intervention program for Marawi cooperatives on 18-19 November 2017 at the CASSalida Theatre, MSU-IIT, Iligan City. This aims to help the existing and functional cooperatives of the region to expand their programs particularly on livelihood. In this way, the people of Marawi who are socially and economically displaced could live a normal life again.

 The motivation to collaborate

The activity was able to converge academe, local and national government agencies and other stakeholders.

 Prof. Darwin Manubag, director of the MSU-IIT Department of Extension, claims the department of extension and academe’s role to bridge Marawi and other development partners. It is an obligation to support each other to find more opportunities. “Despite of what happened, we want you (the cooperatives) to succeed and inspire people,” said Manubag.

 What happened in Marawi calls for a deeper sense of commitment. There is no other way but to advance efforts to rebuild the city. Dimnatang Radia, director of CDA-ARMM asserts that “despite the Marawi atrocities, people should not get tired because we have a good mission, to collaboratively help Marawi.” He also insists that the immediate concerns are poverty and livelihood of the people. And the ‘social enterprise’ is important in addressing these challenges. As Director, Radia emphasized that, “partnerships can champion a social enterprise to rebuild Marawi City.”

 ‘We are Marawi’

Will Marawi live again to its normal life? A question asked by Mr. Mouhammad Camal Sharief of the Institute for Peace and Development in Mindanao (IPDM)/CRS, one of the speakers during the activity. Previous disasters like Zamboanga siege and typhoon Yolanda present several facets of rehabilitation. After a few years, some residents are still living in the temporary shelters. This kind of situation must never happen in Marawi. Thus, rebuilding Marawi must define the city’s culture and identity and to involve the people in the process of rehabilitation. (Mr. IPDM) pointed out that the people in Marawi should help not only for themselves but also for ‘Marawi’ as a whole. “Marawi symbolizes each and everyone of you.” Stated by (MR IPDM).

 Promoting social entrepreneurship in Marawi after the crisis is an opportunity to promote Marawi’s products and specialties. This was emphasized by social entrepreneurship champion Prim Paypon, the founder of Dream Project PH. As highlighted by Mr. Paypon, in social enterprise, the products should promote social and cultural heritage and support social good.

 But how can we possibly achieve this? Inclusive approach to rehabilitation must be applied. The decisions must not only come from the national and local leaders but also from its people.

 Senator JV Ejercito graced the activity on November 19, 2017 and had conversations with the cooperative leaders. He assured the representation of the Marawi constituents in rebuilding the city particularly on housing. Senator Ejercito also reiterated that the redevelopment plan of Marawi must follow the belief, culture, and heritage of our Muslim brothers and sisters. That there is a need to defeat the violent extremism, by promoting peace and development and social enterprise.

Senator JV Ejercito delivers an inspirational message to the cooperative leaders.

 Looking forward

The activity successfully ended with planning for redevelopment of programs on livelihood and social enterprise. With the support of MSU-IIT and CDA ARMM, the cooperatives will be mentored in the next 6 months. The successful cooperative ventures will then be given the opportunity to share their story and best practices in a graduation ceremony in MSU-IIT. The product development proposals range from reviving the Meranao collectives, Meranao food and delicacies, agriculture and organic farm products and services.

 This program is also supported by the MSU-IIT’s Institute for Peace and Development, Center for Local Governance Studies, Center for Human Rights Education, Center for Innovation and Technopreneurship, JCI Iligan and the Iligan Chamber.

 In the future, the cooperatives are expected to produce, develop and innovate Marawi products and specialties that define the city’s social and cultural heritage. Aside from economic empowerment, this intervention might be significant to defeat violent extremism and promote the beautiful culture of Marawi.