Marawi City – Seven (7) years after the siege of Marawi City, videos of internally displaced persons (IDPs) or bakwits show how they are coping from the aftermath of the war that displaced thousands. The videos however also reveal the continuing dire situation of the IDPs in their so-called temporary shelters. And their stories of resilience, hope and struggle.

“There is a young man who was a toddler during the siege featured in one of the videos and who now prays with his friends in a run-down house, instead of our once beautiful Mosque in Ground Zero,” says Sultan Hamidullah Atar, one of the city’s most-respected leaders. “I wonder when our kids could pray together like the community we once were before the siege?” he added.

In another video, three young women, also toddlers at the time of the siege give a tour of their home at the transitory shelters while recounting what their homes before the war were like, saying, “Here at the shelter, we have to pay rent or we will be evicted”. What is seen in the video are cramped spaces where clothes are stored in boxes beside worn-out mattresses and a dining area without tables and chairs.

“My heart goes out to the child who has obviously grown up in the shelter, she is just 7 years old,” said Ding Cali, also a respected NGO leader in the city. “I remember the days when our children would run and play on the streets in Ground Zero and all of us would just watch them grow up that way; but now in the shelters, there’s just no space for children to play as a community—they are losing so much of their childhood.”

The videos are part of a project to share hopes and aspirations in Marawi City, supposedly showing how people are trying to recover and heal from the consequences of war. But it propelled an unintended reception — “people have instead seen and realized what they have lost and what they continue to lose” according to Gus Miclat, Executive Director of the Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID), “as they continue to languish in dilapidated shelters, unable to return to their homes safely and with dignity”, he added. 

Co-produced by Kalimudan sa Ranao Foundation, Inc. (KFI) and IID, the videos were intended to show how the IDPs of Marawi are coping in the midst of their continuing displacement through seven (7) methods: Playing, Praying, Learning, Dreaming, Storytelling, Eating and Creating together as a community. However, in these daily lived realities that have been documented, what was revealed instead is the truth about displacement. The videos have since been played over 2,728 times on Meta (Facebook). The videos may be viewed here: 

There are seven (7) videos showing how life is lived in the transitory shelters — poor, unsafe, unhealthy, and insecure — “a continuing affront to peace, like an ensuing siege against the poor and displaced”, as Miclat described it. 

According to a report by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), as detailed in their Mindanao Displacement Snapshot dated 18 April 2023, as of December 2022, approximately 80,300 people (16,070 families) remain displaced since May 2017. The Marawi Compensation Law has promised a way for these people to recover and heal through a monetary award as reparation for what they have lost in the war that ensued to regain the city from so-called violent extremists back in 2017. But the law is just in its first year of implementation and without sufficient budget to cover what these IDPs have lost, “it might take some time and more adjustments to the implementation before the IDPs can truly have some semblance of justice — but what do we do in the meantime?”, asked Mr. Miclat, “we cannot allow a continuing violation of their rights to a decent and safe life in these shelters—basic rights such as water, food, sanitation, education, health, and livelihood, among others, should be this government’s priority too” he added.

“I nearly cried when I saw the two young boys crouched on the floor reading a book — this is not how children are supposed to study,” said Tirmizy Abdullah, a Professor at Mindanao State University (MSU) and Co-Convener of Marawi Advocacy Accompaniment (MAA). “How much more difficult should achieving their dreams be for us to move, to act? When will we stop failing our children?” he asked. ###

For questions about the videos, contact:
Sittie Fahida Cali (Email:; Phone: 0927-2011064)
Johanna Samonte (Email:; Phone: 0977-2176827)