Actor Robin Padilla steps up to help in Marawi rehabilitation

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 30) — Mindanao peace advocate and action star Robin Padilla is launching a civic group that will focus on the psychosocial needs of the people affected by the five-month crisis.

"Hindi ito natural calamity na lahat ng tao, naging biktima ka, madali mong tanggapin. Kasi kalikasan eh. Hindi ito kalikasan, man-made ito. Binigay sa iyo ito, sa utak mo meron kang konting depression, bakit nangyari sa 'yo," Padilla told CNN Philippines' "The Source" on Monday.

[Translation: It's not like a natural calamity. It's easier to accept devastation caused by natural disasters, but the Marawi crisis is man-made. People would be depressed, they would ask why it happened to them.]

Prior to the launch of "Tindig Marawi," Padilla gave P5 million ($96,700) in August for the psychosocial therapy of children affected by the five-month crisis. He also gave another P5 million worth of relief goods for the evacuees.

More than 30,000 people who fled the fighting and sought shelter in evacuation centers availed of psychosocial aid like stress debriefing and psychiatric treatments, said Office of Civil Defense Deputy Administrator Kristoffer Purisima in August.

Padilla, who converted to Islam in 1996, said he is consolidating help from private companies and colleagues in in show business for Tindig Marawi, which he launched on October 26.

Two large tech companies have pledged to help in rehabilitation, said public relations executive Amor Maclang, also a member of Tindig Marawi.

International real estate portal Lamudi of Rocket Internet, is connecting with real estate developers in the Philippines to pledge homes, she said.

PLDT also offered its financial technology services to provide insurance services using digital and mobile technologies as platforms.

However, since insurance and interest are prohibited in Islam, Maclang said the company agreed to modify their program, and offer banking services according in line with Islam.

Among the features of "halal" finance is working for profit and allowing investment only in socially responsible projects.

"Marami po tayong Muslim brothers who are technically excluded in the financial system kasi bawal po ang insurance, ang pa-interest," said Maclang.

[Translation: We have a lot of Muslim brothers who are technically excluded in the financial system since insurance and interest is prohibited in Islam.]

Padilla said they will solicit donations from the public through a telethon on the ABS-CBN network on November 12, and online through kasamaka.com., or KKK - a reference to the Filipino revolutionary movement against Spain in the 19th century. Padilla identifies himself as a "Katipunero."

He also emphasized the need to meet housing and livelihood.

"Hindi mo man maibigay agad 'yung buhay nila, dapat maibigay mo man lang 'yung comfort," Padilla said.

[Translation: If you can't give them back their lives yet, at least you have to see that they are comfortable.]

On Sunday, more than 4,000 evacuees were allowed to go home in Barangay Basak Malutlut, a village in Marawi City. Some houses are still intact, while others are in shambles.

READ: Thousands of evacuees return to Marawi

Islam is not terrorism

Padilla said the Marawi crisis has its roots in history of injustice against Muslims, who are a minority in the Philippines.

"Hindi lang Marawi eh. Meron pang Zamboanga na nangyari," Padilla said, referring to the Zamboanga siege in September 2013. "Tandaan po natin, ang mga violence na nangyayari sa Pilipinas ay dala pa ng historical injustice sa atin," he added.

[Translation: It is not just Marawi. Zamboanga (siege also happened). We should keep in mind that violence roots from historical injustice.]

More than 200 people died in the three-week crisis in September 2013 after around 500 Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) members attacked Zamboanga City.

This was after the group was excluded in a peace agreement between the government and the armed rebels, specifically the Moro International Liberation Front (MILF), an offshoot of the MNLF.

Padilla pushed for the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law which is now in Congress, and the shift to a federal form of government.

Once known for his persona as show business's "bad boy", 47-year-old Padilla said his conversion to Islam and his desire to help Marawi get back on its feet were because he believed Islam is a religion of peace.

"Kailangan kong tumindig at ipaglaban ko na hindi terorismo ang Islam dahil nagkaroon ng magandang epekto sa akin at wala tayong makukuha sa karahasan," Padilla said.

[Translation: I need to tell people Islam does not mean terrorism, because the religion had a good effect on me. We will not get anything from violence.]

Lanao del Sur Crisis Management Committee Spokesperson Zia Alonto Adiong, meanwhile, said aside from the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Marawi, people must also help the government fight violent extremism.

Adiong also said the conflict was not rooted in religion, since the fighting started by the Maute group was "un-Islamic."

READ: Marawi crisis spokesperson urges inclusive approach to combat extremism

Defense secretary Delfin Lorenzana announced the end of the fighting in Marawi on October 23, exactly five months since the crisis started in May.

Among the casualties are 920 terrorists and 165 government forces. Almost 1,800 were also held hostage, but were eventually rescued by the troops.

READ: Fighting in Marawi City is over