Skip to main content

From Siege to Survival: Exploring the Multi-Faceted Traumas of Meranao Internally Displaced Persons

Mary Rachelle R Wapaño1, Soraimie P Dagalangit-Pundato2, soraimiedagalangit@gmail.com2,
Xavier University1, National Commission on Muslim Filipinos2



The 2017 Marawi Siege in the southern Philippines resulted not only in a city’s physical devastation but also in a profound psychological impact on its internally displaced residents, mainly from the Meranao community. This research aims to understand the trauma endured by these Meranao IDPs, linking it with paradigms of forced migration, cultural displacement, and post-conflict collective memory. Using the American Psychiatric Association’s definition of trauma and Herman’s Trauma Theory as a guiding framework, six IDP survivors from the Sagonsongan area were interviewed. The study adopted the Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) approach to explore the participants’ experiences. This qualitative method involves a detailed examination of personal lived experiences, attempting to understand how individuals make sense of their major life experiences. The IPA approach was particularly suitable for this study as it allowed the researchers to examine the personal stories of trauma, providing a rich and detailed first-person account of the psychological struggles faced by the Meranao IDPs. The data collection involved in-depth, semi-structured interviews that enabled the participants to share their stories in a flexible yet comprehensive manner. The interviews were transcribed verbatim and analyzed following the principles of IPA, which involve a cyclical process of reading and re-reading the transcripts, coding for themes, and looking for connections between themes across the different narratives. The researchers remained cognizant of their preconceptions and engaged in a reflective process to minimize bias. The findings revealed several themes, such as the traumatic implications of familial dislocation, economic hardships, persistent trauma, feelings of exhaustion, and a compromised sense of safety. These findings not only intersect with established theories but also provide unique insights into the Meranao community’s post-siege challenges. The trauma narratives contributed to a nuanced account of the Meranao IDPs’ psychological struggles after the siege.

Keywords: Meranao community, internally displaced persons, Marawi Siege, trauma

Read More>>