Aus­tralian Am­bas­sador vis­its Marawi tent city

Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro - - Top Stories - By Riz P. Sunio Correspondent

MARAWI CITY – Aus­tralian am­bas­sador to the Philip­pines Amanda Gorely vis­ited the Sa­ri­manok Tent City, Fri­day, as part of the Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment’s sup­port for the Marawi Re­cov­ery Project (MRP), an­nounc­ing that the Gov­ern­ment will in­crease their sup­port to PHP975 mil­lion (AUD 25 mil­lion) to the Marawi re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion ef­forts.

The Com­mu­nity and Fam­ily Ser­vices In­ter­na­tional (CFSI) or­ga­nized a cer­e­mo­nial liveli­hood as­sis­tance han­dover to their ben­e­fi­cia­ries in Sa­ri­manok Tent City on Fri­day which was graced by Gorely.

Gorely, in the pro­gram, handed over a re­frig­er­a­tor, co­conut grater, sew­ing ma­chine, four mo­tor­cy­cles, and two mo­tor­cy­cle side­cars to CFSI MRP’s ben­e­fi­cia­ries.

Af­ter the han­dover, Gorely had a fo­cused group dis­cus­sion with some ben­e­fi­cia­ries of the site and ob­served the psy­choso­cial ac­tiv­i­ties in the child-friendly space (CFS) in the area.

Task Force Ban­gon Marawi Field Man­ager Felix Cas­tro Jr. ex­pressed that Aus­tralian had al­ways been sup­port­ing Marawi and the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion ef­forts in the City.

“One thing you should know is that the Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment is think­ing of the re­cov­ery of the peo­ple of Marawi, even dur­ing the cri­sis,” said Dr. Steven Muncy, CFSI ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor, adding that the Coun­try had re­sponded im­me­di­ately to the event.

In her speech, Gorely said that she had wanted to visit Marawi be­fore go­ing back to Aus­tralia and had strongly re­quested to go to the City.

“We rec­og­nize the need to pro­vide im­me­di­ate so­lu­tions on longer terms to keep peo­ple safe and pro­vide the op­por­tu­ni­ties to disen­gaged fam­i­lies to re­cover their eco­nomic in­de­pen­dence,” Gorely said.

She also com­mended the re­silience of the evac­uees of the siege and the MRP’s ef­forts in pro­vid­ing psy­choso­cial sup­port and pro­tec­tion ac­tiv­i­ties to the in­ter­nally dis­placed per­sons (IDPs) for them to ac­cess gov­ern­ment ser­vices and ob­tain birth cer­tifi­cates.

Fur­ther­more, Gorely an­nounced that Aus­tralia has in­creased its to­tal sup­port to PHP975 mil­lion (AUD 25 mil­lion for the “long term peace and sta­bil­ity in the south­ern Philip­pines,” ac­cord­ing to the me­dia state­ment re­leased by the Aus­tralian Em­bassy.

It was also an­nounced that Aus­tralia is go­ing to fund school feed­ing for 50,000 chil­dren and food as­sis­tance for fam­i­lies dis­placed from Marawi, ed­u­ca­tion and child pro­tec­tion ac­tiv­i­ties to sup­port chil­dren af­fected by the con­flict; and Tech­ni­cal as­sis­tance to Task Force Ban­gon Marawi for re­cov­ery and re­con­struc­tion ef­forts.

CFSI is the grant man­ager of the Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment Depart­ment of For­eign Af­fairs and Trade’s PHP 97.5 mil­lion (AUD 2.5 mil­lion) sup­port for MRP, with the United Na­tions Food and Agri­cul­ture Or­ga­ni­za­tion (FAO) as a sub-grantee.

As of Oc­to­ber 26, CFSI is sup­port­ing 134 fam­i­lies in the Sa­ri­manok Tent City and has al­ready dis­trib­uted 100 liveli­hood sup­port while 34 more are about to be given. About 439 in­di­vid­u­als are also as­sisted to be is­sued with cer­tifi­cates of live birth.

Aside from the Sa­ri­manok Tent City, MRP is also prov­ing pro­tec­tion, liveli­hood, psy­choso­cial sup­port to evac­u­a­tion, tran­si­tory and Kam­balin­gan sites in Barangays Bito Buadi Itowa, Buadi Sa­cayo, Sagon­songan, Pa­pan­dayan, and Guimba.

As of press time, CFSI has al­ready iden­ti­fied 521 ben­e­fi­cia­ries and has been able to dis­trib­ute 299 liveli­hood sup­port, while 222 are still com­ing.

MRP aims to pro­mote pro­tec­tion, and the psy­choso­cial and eco­nomic re­cov­ery of at least 4,000 house­holds (20,000 per­sons) dis­placed by the Marawi Cri­sis. Part of CFSI’s eco­nomic re­cov­ery ef­forts are the liveli­hood sup­port given to the most vul­ner­a­ble and per­sons with spe­cial needs.

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