Philippines

‘Letter of Hope’ drive for soldiers, Marawi IDPs launched

‘Letter of Hope’ drive for soldiers, Marawi IDPs launched

COTABATO CITY (Philippines News Agency) -– The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) today launched a campaign that will give hope to residents of Marawi City affected by the hostilities and soldiers fighting terrorists through “Letters of Hope,” an ARMM official said.

ARMM Cabinet Secretary Khal Mambuay-Campong said the idea came from a group of private individuals from Luzon, among them a physician, who visited Marawi City recently.

“Actually, this idea started when a doctor who visited Marawi City launched a donation drive for garments and thank you notes to the soldiers in the city fighting the local terror groups,” Campong said.

Campong, assisted by her colleagues from outside ARMM, initiated the delivery of letters not only to soldiers but also to civilians affected by the month-long fighting between government troops and local terror groups.

Marawi City is a component city of Lanao del Sur, both administratively under the ARMM regional government.

Data from ARMM’s Crisis Management Committee showed a total of 252,282 individuals, or 51,651 families, were displaced by the crisis and are now in evacuation centers, or are staying with their relatives.

Rinz Araneta, a teacher from PAREF Woodrose School in Ayala Alabang in Metro Manila, said her group has seen the positive impact of this campaign to the soldiers, thus extending the campaign to include civilians, especially those most affected by the crisis.

The drive also allows sending messages of hope through the email address: mgzaraneta@gmail.com.

“As our letters make their way to our noble soldiers, let us also extend this spirit of love and oneness to those severely affected by this war – our displaced brothers and sisters,” Araneta said.

“Let us send them letters that express love, that give hope, that show, or maybe, even just attempt at understanding,” Araneta said, explaining that a page with a heartfelt message can motivate the IDPs.

Campong said the education department’s provincial office in Cavite also issued a memorandum requesting all the schools to encourage teachers and students to send letters to the victims.

“It’s an expression of motivation and hope. We, the people of Marawi, need the prayers and words of hope,” said Campong who is from Marawi City.

Campong and Araneta will personally distribute the collected letters to the evacuation centers in Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte. (EOF/PNA)

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