In celebration of the season of hope, love and peace, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process has partnered with Duyog Marawi to spread the spirit of Christmas to the communities of internally displaced persons from Marawi City over the weekend.
With the theme “Puso at Kapayapaan: Magbigayan at Magmahalan,” the IDPs marked the holiday season with Christmas carols, coloring activities for kids, and peace lectures.
OPAPP Undersecretary and Executive Director Diosita Andot expressed her delight at the opportunity to give joy to the bakwits, especially to the children residing in evacuation centers.
“What we would really like is for you to hear and feel how much we love you. That love has been there, ever since the crisis in Marawi began,” said Andot.
James Alih Abdul of OPAPP’s Early Recovery and Rehabilitation Project said there’s a lesson in seeing the kids in harmony with each other.
“If you observe them, they’re happy, all are smiling and they see no divide. Christians, Muslims, indigenous peoples – in their eyes, all are equal. My wish is for their parents to be more like their children, so that all of us can be joyful, and can continue to live in peace with each other,” Abdul said.
“This is a good start for the IDPs to feel that there will always be someone who will guide and love them, and that they have an avenue to temporarily forget what happened to them in Marawi. Most of them have nothing when they fled their city, but the activities here somehow brought them back to what they used to do before the siege occurred,” said Apipa Cabaro, a member of the Mindanao People’s Peace Movement.
Alana Manta, a 50-year-old evacuee, also expressed gratitude for the two-day event.
“This is a big help especially to my child so she can temporarily forget what happened in Marawi. She doesn’t want to see me sad, but she never ceased to remind me that what is important is that we are all together. Our family is complete,” she said.
Hundreds of knapsacks containing school supplies, lunch kit, and candies were distributed by OPAPP to the evacuees who are temporarily staying at the Buru-un School of Fisheries, Sta. Elena Evacuation Center and at home-based shelters at Barangay Upper Hinaplanon.