Tzu Chi volunteers led by Tzu Chi Philippines CEO Henry Yuñez visited Ground Zero in Marawi City. Buildings and houses are riddled with bullets or blown up by bombs. The sight strengthened the volunteers’ determination to help the Maranaos get back on their feet.
Tzu Chi volunteers visited the Sports Complex of the Provincial Capitol of Lanao del Sur where thousands of sacks of rice to be distributed to war-displaced families are stored. Marawi officials expressed their gratitude to Tzu Chi over its concern and efforts to help Marawi.
On February 2, ten Tzu Chi volunteers, headed by Tzu Chi Philippines CEO Henry Yuñez, entered the main battle ground in Marawi City. It was Yuñez’ second time in the place yet seeing the buildings and houses riddled with bullets still filled his heart with so much compassion for the war victims.
The other Tzu Chi volunteers were shocked to see the extent of the damage but it strengthened their will to help the Maranaos.
After their short visit to Ground Zero, the volunteers proceeded to the Sports Complex of the Provincial Capitol of Lanao del Sur where 22,000 sacks of 20-kilo rice to be distributed to war-displaced families are being stored.
“The Department of Social Welfare and Development is experiencing rice shortage now. So, we really need all the help we can get for the people of Marawi. That is why we are very thankful to Tzu Chi Foundation because that sack of rice can feed a family for quite a while,” says Provincial Social Welfare Office Director Maharlanny Alonto.
As of today, those whose houses are still standing are returning home. Though they have a place to stay, they still have no source of income.
“If I will describe the situation of each family, it is depressing most especially for those who are staying in the evacuation centers. Depressing in a way that it took away their right to live peacefully,” shares Alonto. “Now, the rich and the poor are equal. They are at the point in their lives when if they receive help of whatever kind, they will be very grateful. I hope that through Tzu Chi’s rice donation, the depression that they are experiencing will be eased.”
Aside from Tzu Chi Foundation, government and non-government organizations, there are also individuals who are doing their share to help.
Abdul Rashid “Elian” Macala, a trucking businessman pledged to give 15% discount to Tzu Chi Foundation in transporting the sacks of rice to Marawi City.
“I am really glad that there are other countries, like Taiwan and even other religions, like Buddhism, that are helping the Muslim community to rebuild itself,” says Macala.
Considered as the longest urban battle in the Philippines, the Marawi Siege lasted for five months. It displaced more than 400,000 people in Marawi and nearby towns.
Support Tzu Chi’s relief and rehabilitation work for the evacuees of the Marawi War by visiting http://tzuchi.org.ph/how-to-help/donation/ #HelpTzuChiHelpOthers