COTABATO CITY – Over 300 internally displaced families currently residing in two tent sites in Marawi City in Lanao del Sur province have received Ramadan food packs from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) government.
The distribution held Tuesday coincided with the ARMM People’s Day held in Marawi City led by the Humanitarian and Emergency Action Response Team (ARMM-HEART).
Myrna Jo Henry, ARMM-HEART information officer, said the distribution of food packs “is an act of charity” and will help evacuees prepare for the Ramadan that will start on Thursday.
The food packs contain rice, fresh fish, dried fish, and loaves of bread, peanut butter, coffee, energy drink, sugar and other food items.
ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman said Ramadan is a time for to renew commitment to the faith; and a time for solidarity – reinforced by the fast Muslims do during the holy month.
“Our shared struggle as Muslims in the Bangsamoro, however, goes beyond the fast. Around this time last year, our Muslim brothers and sisters in Marawi City were faced with a great tragedy, one that has brought pain and grief not only into the great city, but into our hearts as well.”
“But it is also through this shared struggle that we continue to rediscover the depth of our love for our brothers and sisters, as we constantly share a collective strength that can only come from a steadfast faith in Allah himself.
As we observe the most holy month of Ramadan, may we find time to pray for the lives of thousands who have been affected by conflict – both past and present – as we continue to pray for peace and justice in our homeland. May we remember that Allah desires ease and not hardship for us all, and may we always treat our brothers and sisters with kindness and mercy, guided by the intention of helping to bring at least a semblance of the ease Allah desires for us,” Hataman said in his Ramadan message.
He urged Muslims to always remember those who were displaced from Marawi, not only in prayer but in action; and to continue in striving to know their suffering by heart, and to relieve them of their great burden.
“May we take this time to recognize our responsibility to each other as Muslims, and to remember what it means to work in solidarity towards a renewal of our commitment to our faith, towards rebuilding a city and its spirit, and responding to the continued call for peace in our communities. As we observe the holiest month of Ramadan, may we find time to pray for the lives of thousands who have been affected by the conflict,” Hataman said.
Local ISIS supporters and Abu Sayyaf occupied Marawi on May 23 last year and house to house fighting lasted 5 months that left the city in ruins.
The regional government has been prompt in extending its assistance to the evacuees since the crisis started. It immediately established a crisis management committee and several operation centers to facilitate the delivery of assistance to the affected families.
In June 2017, at least a month since the siege started, the regional government released P77 million as assistance to the victims of the crisis. ARMM-HEART also formed a rescue team that helped save civilians trapped in areas where heavy fighting was reported.
The team also helped in delivering additional assistance from the regional government and the provincial government of Lanao del Sur to the affected individuals since last year.
Hataman said the regional government last year provided P450 million for the rehabilitation of Marawi and an additional P930 million will be released for Marawi this year. (Bureau of Public Information)
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