Balangueños confront hate and violence with love and solidarity as they extend help to Marawi’s displaced population.
With aggressive strikes from both government and terrorist forces, Marawi’s war survivors are left homeless and deprived of basic needs such as food and clothing.
In response to the crisis, the United Muslim Association of Bataan (UMA) asked the city government’s permission to gather donations for Marawi citizens. UMA immediately erected a tent at the city’s public market when the city government gave its permission on June 29. The said tent serves as drop off point for all donations.
The donation drive was named “Tulong Marawi” to capture its aim of providing assistance to Marawi’s displaced families.
Now, UMA took the donations to its compound, where volunteers segregate them to packs good for a family.
Abdullah Ampuan, UMA president, said that most of the donations are food items. They came from various institutions in Bataan including the Philippine National Police (PNP), Balanga City’s Sangguniang Panlungsod, city government department heads, student organizations, and private entities,
Just recently, PNP-Bataan donated 27 boxes, many of which contain food items.
In spite of the generous outpouring of donations, Ampuan believes that what Marawi truly needs is a complete stop to armed struggle.
“Ang pagkakaalam ko d’yan hangga’t may terorista pa d’yan ay magulo pa rin ang Mindanao. Ang dapat ay maalis na d’yan ang mga terorista para hindi napeperwisyo ang mga kababayan natin na sibilyan,” said Ampuan.
The UMA president also praised the government’s effort to put an end to war. Dragging for more than a month, the war affected people of various backgrounds, including those with family members living in Balanga.
“Maganda ‘yung (ginagawa) ng ating gobyerno para po kahit papaano matahimik naman ang Mindanao,” said Ampuan.
“May mga kamag-anak din kami sa Marawi. Bale sa ngayon po nasa mga evacuation center sila kaya kung itong nalikom natin p’wede natin silang madatnan,” Ampuan went on.
On behalf of the city government, Mayor Francis Anthony S. Garcia extended a message of solidarity, asking for Balangueños’ prayers for peace.
Together with the city’s department heads, he also pledged material support for evacuees.
As of July 5, UMA has gathered 70 packs of goods. These goods will be airlifted to Marawi after they have been segregated.
By: Arli Joshua Atienza