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Australian Ambassador visits Marawi’s Lakeview Shelter

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The story was originally published by the Philippine Information Agency.

MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur (PIA)–As part of the Australian government’s continuous support to Marawi recovery, Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Steven J. Robinson visited the Lakeview Shelter in Boganga village Wednesday, August 11.

Robinson led the handover of assistance to beneficiaries of the Community and Family Services International (CFSI) in the shelter.

In his message, the Ambassador noted that a lot has changed since his last visit to the city. “I remember going to what was called the tent city but it’s good to see that no one lives there anymore and now you are in a much safer place,” he said.

Robinson also gave assurance that the Australian government will continue to support the recovery of Marawi amid the pandemic.

“Through our trusted partner CFSI, we extended assistance to help affected families deal with the additional challenges brought by the pandemic,” he said.

The assistance handed over to 12 community members is under the Marawi Covid Recovery Project (MCRP) of CFSI which is funded by the Australian government.

CFSI Executive Director Steven Muncy said the assistance delivered to displaced families has three major components. These are livelihood support, protection support which includes civil documentation such as certificate of live birth, and psychosocial support including provision of assistive devices for people with disability or chronic health conditions.

This project, he said, is being carried out in close collaboration with CFSI’s partners such as UNHCR, UNFPA, Mindanao State University, the city government of Marawi, and the affected community, among others.

Grateful beneficiaries

One of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) who received a ‘coconut grater’ livelihood project is Faidarah Limbona Ampac, 31 years old, and with six children. When asked what she can say about the livelihood project, she said “Penalamat ta ka kiyaogopan ta iran ko kawiyagan ta sa khapakala iya (I am thankful because they helped boost my livelihood).”

Hasana Pangandaman also expressed her gratitude to CFSI and the Australian government. “Penalamatan k siran a iniped ako iran ko pamemegayan iran a livelihood (I want to thank them for including me as a beneficiary of the livelihood support),” she said. The 41-year old Hasana is a mother of eight children who used to reside in East Marinaut village before the siege.

Twenty-two-year-old Sohaila Ibrahim and 82-year old Radia Talo are also thankful for the assistive device they received.

Talo said the nebulizer can provide him immediate relief from an asthma attack and help him breathe freely. Ibrahim, on the other hand, said she is happy to have her own nebulizer as she can save money from buying medicines for her asthma.

Mateship and Bayanihan

Ambassador Robinson said this year marked the 75 years of the diplomatic relationship between Australia and the Philippines. The celebration, he said, is anchored on the theme of mateship similar to the “Bayanihan” tradition of Filipinos.

With this, he urged IDPs to keep the Filipino ‘Bayanihan’ spirit alive and work together in rebuilding their lives, their home, and their communities. (APB/PIA-ICIC)