By Donabel Norei Magsino

MARAWI CITY, June 12 (PIA TFBM ICCC) – Celebration of the Independence Day has gotten more meaningful as residents of Barangay Papandayan and Papandayan Caniogan participated in the Convergence Peace Service Caravan organized by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP).

“Ang kalilintad ay hindi basta-basta nabibili kung saan-saan. Hindi tayo magkakaroon ng kalilintad kung mismong sa ating sarili ay wala tayong katahimikan. Ang kalilintad ay gift ‘yan galing kay Allah at dapat din nating ibahagi sa ating kapwa,” said OPAPP Director Ferdinand Jovita.

[Peace is not something you can buy anywhere. We won’t have peace if we don’t have it in ourselves. Peace is a gift from Allah and we should share it with others.]

Integral part of the program was the peace conversation where the stakeholders were given the opportunity to speak their mind about rebuilding not only the physical structures of the war-torn city but also their relationships with each other and with the government.

OPAPP Dir. Ferdinand Jovita facilitates the peace conversation between the stakeholders of Brgy. Papandayan and Papandayan Caniogan. (Photo by: Jason Casas/PIA ICCC)

Women, Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team members, teachers, soldiers and imams were among the participants of the conversation.

Following their discussion about moving forward together, the need for sustainable livelihood programs, transportation assistance, and restoration of madrasahs were raised.

During the caravan, various services have also been accessed by the crisis-affected residents through the collaboration of different government agencies, non-government organizations and other partners from the private sector.

The Department of Health (DOH) provided free check-ups and medicines.

A resident avails of free medical consultation from the Department of Health. (Photo by: Jason Casas/PIA ICCC)

“Kapag wala kaming pambili ng gamot, merong dumarating na DOH na nagbibigay samin ng tulong. Nagpapasalamat ako,” expressed Norhata Pedro Guro, a mother of three who is currently seeking refuge in her sister’s house in Papandayan after losing her own inside the most affected area.

[Whenever we can’t afford to buy medicines, DOH is always there to help us. I’m thankful.]

Psychosocial interventions for the children and youth were conducted by the Hijab troopers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Participants joyfully danced, sang and played parlor games. Free ice creams were also distributed by the Fraternal Order of Eagles – Philippine Eagles.

Corporal Jean Dorothy Maranion facilitates psychosocial intervention for crisis-affected children along with other Hijab troopers. (Photo by: Jason Casas/PIA ICCC)

“Yung mga bata sila ang labis na naapektuhan. Traumatic para sa kanila yung nangyaring Marawi siege. Ang misyon namin ay makapagbigay ng happiness sa mga bata,” said Corporal Jean Dorothy Maranion, a Hijab trooper who hails from Luzon. She has been working closely with the kids of Marawi for 10 months now.

[The children are the most affected. Marawi siege was traumatic for them. Our mission is to bring happiness to these kids.]

Free registration of birth certificates and Commission on Elections (COMELEC) voter’s certification for the Marawi residents was also facilitated by Ideals Inc. through its legal aid clinic desk.

Door-to-door distribution of rice from the World Food Programme followed.

OPAPP’s peace caravan runs from June 11-13 in different barangays in Marawi. (DNMagsino/PIA ICCC)