By Lady Jean L. Kabagani
MARAWI CITY, Oct 26 (PIA ICCC) — Foreign aid on livelihood continued to pour in for the displaced individuals affected by the Marawi siege.
Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Amanda Gorely personally visited the displaced families residing in Sarimanok Transitional Site.
“One thing I really wanted to do before I go back Australia was to visit Marawi City,” shared Gorely.
The ambassador engaged a small talk with the IDPs residing in the tent city.
Gorely also appreciated the strong courage of Marawi IDPs inspite their situation, “the hardship that you have suffered and you continue to suffer are incredible. And you are showing quite strength and resilience. Seeing you today had really do that part that you are making progress to recovery.”
Gorely together with Community and Family Services International (CFSI) Executive Director Steve Muncy, Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) Field Manager Assistant Secretary Felix Castro Jr. and representative from the Joint Task Force Ranao led the handover ceremony of livelihood assistance under the Marawi Recovery Project (MRP) of Australian aid for reviving the businesses of the residents affected by the conflict in Marawi.
This livelihood assistance provides sustainable economic recovery of displaced individuals affected by Marawi siege.
Gorey also noted that MRP contains not only livelihood support. Its components include Psychosocial activities and protection program ensuring the safety, well-being as well as dignity of most vulnerable persons affected by the conflict.
The TFBM perspective
Moreover, TFBM Field Manager Asec. Felix Castro Jr. appreciated the vast support being handed by the Australian government reaching Marawi IDPs’ full recovery, “malaki ang naitutulong nila, hindi lang nila binabanggit kung magkano, marami silang tinutulungan dito at hindi sila nagsasawa [they’ve help much, they’re not just mentioning how much, they’re helping a lot and they don’t get tired of it].”
“In fact pumunta ang ambassador nila dito para makita ‘yung mga kalagayan niyo, umikot sila dito at pumunta para makita kung paano ba tumulong sa mga taga-Marawi, of course laging nandyan ang CFSI na kakampi nila [In fact the ambassador went here to observe your condition, they went around to know how to help Marawi residents],” Castro added.
Castro reiterated the call of courage “lagi nating sinasabi, kayo, ang gobyerno at yung mga tumutulong sa atin. Sama-sama tayong ibangon ang Marawi [we always say, you, the government and those who were helping us. Let us bring back Marawi together].”
A five-months pregnant Jasmin Batao, 31 years old with six kids, is very much thankful to the Australian government and CFSI for receiving a livelihood support. Her family was once living in Brgy. Lumbaca Madaya-one of the 24 barangays severely affected during Marawi siege. She owns a business stall before, but when the conflict begun, her family started to flee away from home going to evacuation center and left nothing with her. She and her family are currently residing in Sarimanok Tent City Site 2 while waiting for the rehabilitation of the most affected area (MAA) in Marawi City.
Batao said, “itong livelihood assistance na ito ay malaking tulong talaga, naging normal na yung buhay namin, nabibili namin kung ano yung mga gusto naming bilhin [This livelihood assistance is a big help, we got live normally and we can buy all we want and sustain the needs of my family.”
Batao hopes her life will be back to normal, “gusto natin mabalik yung dati [we want to bring back the old times].”
Marawi Recovery Project
The MRP is being implemented by CFSI and United Nations-Food and Agriculture Organization (UNFAO) on behalf of the Australian Government.
Meanwhile, CFSI Exec Dir. Steve Muncy noted that the Australian government is also thinking about the recovery of Marawi even during the crisis, the reason why the MRP was conceptualized, to help the residents’ recovery.
“We know so far that only about 25% of the people from this site have got livelihood, we hear the voices of the others, we know you feel we need to extend livelihood to other families,” said Muncy.
The Australian Government provided grants addressing the long-term needs for the poorest and most vulnerable families displaced by the Marawi crisis. (LJKabagani/PIA ICCC)