FOUR weeks after May 23, when Maute group terrorists went on a rampage in Marawi City, killing civilians and burning a school, 218 people have been killed, 320,000 persons displaced, with over 21,800 in 79 evacuation centers, (the rest opted to live with relatives somewhere else), a little below 1,000 civilians still trapped, and 22,000 children unable to attend school.
That is the picture of the Marawi conflict, which is more fierce than any conflict before because terrorist have no regard whether you are a civilian or a combatant. You are dead meat and whatever meat you may represent, you are nothing but another pawn in their desire to sow terror.
The greater problem is that, under such condition, humanitarian organizations cannot reach nor dispense of assistance around Ground Zero. Simply said, we have to let the military do their thing to clear the area so that relief, recovery, and rehabilitation can start. There is no if's and but's about this. It's military work, otherwise, let all those opposing the war go to the frontline and talk peace with the terrorists.
For us, who understand full well the sufferings that is now being spawned, we can just give our moral support of the military so that they can deliver their mandate with no more casualties and at the quickest time possible.
Let us remember, too, that there are hundreds and thousands of evacuees, who are in need of clean water, cash for food, health care and sanitation and hygiene items, just like our soldiers, and sending these basic essentials will mean more than just temporary relief, but most of all it sends the message that they have not been forgotten and there are people who care.
While the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has been busy since day one, it is now our call to carry part of the burden to deliver help and boost spirits.
It is at this time of need when people can either become forever grateful or forever resentful. Let us not miss that opportunity to spread a message of peace and caring.
We are one with Marawi has drop off locations nationwide. In Davao City, it's at the Ateneo de Davao University Jacinto Campus through (082) 221-2411 or Matina campus thru (082)299-404, the UCEAC Office at 8/F Community Center of the Firs Companions with local 8262 and 8607, Samahan Office at the Mezzanine Floor of the Martin Building with local 8328, Grade School Campus Ministry Office with local 4116, and Junior High School Office of the Coordinator for Student Activities (Ocsa) local 4327.
If you're somewhere else, then go to their Facebook Page at @1withmarawi. Our fellow Filipinos need help, let us do our share.
Published in the SunStar Davao newspaper on June 19, 2017.
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