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Rebuilding Marawi: Evacuees’ mental health important too

/ 02:00 PM July 04, 2017

Evacuees from Marawi City camp rest at the Saguiaran Townhall in Lanao del Sur on the southern island of Mindanao on June 5, 2017. AFP FILE PHOTO

Amid the government’s readiness to rebuild the strife-torn city of Marawi, a senator said that it’s also important to focus on the rehabilitation of residents displaced by the month-long fighting.

“The shattered dignity of the Maranaos is more difficult to relieve. It takes more than food or water or even shelter. It needs much more than that to be restored,” Senator Sonny Angara said in a statement on Tuesday.

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“Let’s aggressively address the well-being of the evacuees. It is more important to rebuild their souls more than the buildings downtown. When souls are broken, there is no rehabilitating a city because a city is its people,” he added.

The senator was reacting to reports that some 2,500 evacuees had shown early signs of schizophrenia.

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READ: Child evacuees mimic fighting in Marawi

Crisis like this, Angara said, “highlights the urgent need for a mental health law in the country.”

Angara is one of the authors of Senate Bill No. 1354 or the Philippine Mental Health Act of 2017, which had been approved by the Senate.

Under the bill, the government is mandated to provide basic mental health services at the community level and psychiatric, psychosocial and neurologic services in all regional, provincial and tertiary hospitals.

READ: Senate OKs mental health bill

If enacted into law, Angara said, mental health services would be more accessible especially in conflict areas as victims of traumatic incidents would be provided immediate psychological first aid. Airei Kim Guanga, INQUIRER.net trainee/IDL

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TAGS: Legislation, Marawi, Maute, mental health, schizophrenia, Senate, Sonny Angara, trauma
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