By Samira Gutoc
World Teachers Day at the Far Eastern University (FEU) was a great time to reflect on the trials of teachers whose salaries are still to be upgraded unlike the police and soldiers.
Teachers in conflict areas are themselves victims when displaced , even if professionals , they join other evacuees in search for food and water . I recall the Marawi experience. The teachers who relocated to nearby Iligan City called out for food even as they especially who were part of Management had to keep their monitoring operations ongoing.
Mindanao State University (MSU) Prof. Tirmizy Abdullah in his heartfelt story recalled his steady saving of cash month per month to invest in a sari sari store which was his gift to his mother. But all this blew into a smoke upon the happening of the May 2017 siege. He thanked FEU for the safe space to tell his story because they feel cautious under martial law.
Teachers can themselves become hostages especially if they are not from the place. In the Marawi case, several teachers got stuck with the Maute group, they were among those who faced the horrifying captivity and bombardment for months until they were rescued . They are targeted because they are bait for the security sector not to gun the perpetrators lair.
Schools and thus schooling also suffer. These become evacuation centers for people. These become temporary shelters where natives await relief.
The first prayer in the former Ground Zero.
Marawi City , was held in public several Fridays ago nearby the Lake Lanao waters and the flattened area . Emotions ran high as the plea to return to Ground Zero as soon as possiblebecame longer than the usual invocation of a few minutes.
I have been asked about what is a culture-sensitive shelter. In Muslim settings, such space should be more than enough to separate the male and female children. Unfortunately, the small shelters in Marawi’s Sagonsongan calls out for cultural recognition.