Citizens, OFWS write ‘Letters of Hope’ for troops, Marawi evacuees

The Mindanao Examiner Regional Newspaper - - News - (Bureau of Public Information)

COTABATO CITY - People from other regions and those living overseas can now reach out to government troops as well as displaced residents of Marawi through "letters of hope."

The campaign was started by a group of private individuals in Luzon in coordination with the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao’s (ARMM) Cabinet Secretary Khal Mambuay-campong.

"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," Sec. Campong said.

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

Official data from ARMM’S Crisis Management Committee, as of June 15, 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 campaign 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."

She explained that a page with a heartfelt message can motivate the victims.

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 is an expression of motivation and hope. We, the people of Marawi, need the prayers and words of hope," said Campong, who is a native of Marawi City.

She said those who are interested in sending letters to children and parents in Marawi City can send through Araneta's e-mail address, or through drop-off points at Quezon City Science High School and at Veritas Catholic School in Paranaque. She noted that many individuals have expressed their interest in delivering the letters.

In the first week of July, the group of Sec. Campong and Araneta will distribute the collected letters to the evacuation centers in Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte.

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