LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is knocking on the doors of Bicolanos to gather aid for evacuees affected by the crisis in Marawi City.
Army Colonel Alden Juan Masagca, commanding officer of the Philippine Army’s 901st Infantry Brigade, personally appealed over local radio for donations of used clothing, cash, kitchen utensils, food, and school supplies for Marawi evacuees in temporary government shelters.
“To our kababayans (countrymen) in Bicol, we are knocking on your doors to solicit any assistance you can share to our brothers in Marawi City in Mindanao affected by the ongoing conflict,” he said.
Masagca, who hails from Catanduanes, said the aid would not be for soldiers, but for civilians.
“We might be sleeping soundly here but our brothers in Marawi City are in miserable condition. [Their] houses were destroyed. They don’t have a home to return to when the conflict is over. For our soldiers, we are asking for your prayers for their safety fighting against the terrorists,” Masagca said.
He said they will wait until June 30 to collect assistance from the Bicolanos. The donations will then be sent to Marawi City through the Philippine Air Force, which will distribute it to the evacuees.
On Monday, June 19, the AFP launched the “Pagmakulog sa Sadiring Lahi (Compassion for our Fellowmen)” project, an initiative to lend a hand to the evacuees.
The launch was done in Bicol’s 6 provinces, appealing for help from everyone willing to send aid to Marawi. Soon after the launch, the AFP in Bicol also tapped social media to appeal for help from netizens.
The Tactical Operations Group 5 of the Philippine Air Force, led by Colonel Rover Sobrino, appealed on its Facebook page for help for the evacuees.
The program aims to encourage Bicolanos to give any form of assistance they can, including moral and spiritual support, to boost the morale of the displaced families.
The AFP in Bicol earlier sent at least 3 battalions to Mindanao before the Marawi City clashes erupted to go after terrorists sowing fear in various parts of the region.
In Masbate City, different stakeholders, including the Muslim community, businesses, students, non-governmental organizations, and government agencies participated in the military’s kick-off ceremony.
In Sorsogon, Governor Bobet Lee Rodrigueza invoked the “bayanihan” spirit to encourage provincemates to help the affected civilians, and asked for prayers for the military and police fighting in the conflict.
Since the Marawi siege started on May 23, at least 3 Bicolano Marines and an army soldier have been killed in action. The fallen heroes were given military honors here. – Rappler.com
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