By Wilnard Bacelonia

MARAWI CITY, March 14 (PIA-ICCC) – Displaced families at Sarimanok Tent City cheer as Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Steve Robinson arrives here today to lead the ceremonial handover of certificates of live birth and livelihood assistance.

In his speech, Robinson renewed the Australian Government’s commitment to helping Marawi rise again as a prosperous city.

“As a friend and a neighbor of the Philippines, we stand ready to support you especially in times of emergencies and disasters. The Australian Government recognized the need to provide humanitarian recovery assistance to the families displaced by the Marawi conflict and to support long-term peacebuilding,” Robinson assured.

The Australian envoy personally handed 10 certificates of live birth to displaced children and livelihood assistance to 25 community members under the Marawi Recovery Project (MRP)  being implemented by the Community and Family Services International (CFSI) for the urban livelihood assistance and United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UN-FAO) for the agricultural livelihood assistance.

Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Steve Robinson interacts with some of the MRP beneficiaries. (Photo by Wilnard Bacelonia/PIA ICCC)

MRP is composed of psychosocial, livelihood and protection components being carried out in 10 evacuation centers and transitory sites in the city, as well as selected communities in Ditsaan Ramain, Marantao, and Piagapo.

One of its beneficiaries is Aisha Kalalagan, who stays at Sarimanok Tent City for almost a year now.

As a solo parent, Aisha is working very hard in taking care of her two children until CFSI gave her a P15-thousand worth of cash assistance to open her own slippers store inside the evacuation center.

“I now earn P700 -1,000 every day, enough to provide for my family’s daily needs,” she said.

Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Steve Robinson meeting Aisha Kalalagan and visiting her slipper store provided by CFSI under Marawi Recovery Project funded by the Australian Government. (Photo byWilnard Bacelonia/PIA ICCC)

In his closing remarks, Task Force Bangon Marawi Field Office (TFBM-FO) Manager and Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council Assistant Secretary Felix Castro Jr. encouraged the siege victims to value what they received from the government and humanitarian agencies.

“We hope that you will not sell all the livelihood equipment you received. These will help you get back on your feet again,” Castro said.

Both CFSI and UN-FAO are part of the Kawiyagan Livelihood Convergence of TFBM distributing livelihood assistance to Marawi IDPs every last Thursday of the month at the Marawi City Hall Grounds.

Before Robinson’s appointment last November 2018, Former Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Amanda Gorely also visited Marawi to show the Australian Government’s commitment to Marawi’s recovery. (WLBacelonia/PIA-ICCC)