May 23

Good Morning Everyone,

I was in Marawi City yesterday upon the request of Gov Mujiv to assess the situation on the ground acnd see how can we best help in this very sad development which broke out last May 22.

Five days after the fighting broke out, heavy gunfires can still be heard from the Army Brigade HQ where we were stationed.  Marawi has become a ghost city.  When we entered the city, it was all deserted…only dogs roamed around the previously busy main street of the city. What was very heartbreaking was the sight of the continuing exodus of people getting out of the city.  I have personally experienced and suffered the 5 hour traffic from Marawi to Iligan for less than 30 km stretch.  The faces of helplessness of the elderly and children continues to haunt me until now.  Hopefully the fighting will end in the next few days.  

My other agenda was to also connect with our youth leaders.  I was worried that if we cannot mobilize them, they will continue to feel like victims and it’s dangerous and worrisome.  With the help of Ayala foundation staff, I will meet with the youth leaders today in Iligan and engage them to plan their intervention to do relief distribution and other things they might see as critical.  A good friend of EFAP, offered some amount and this is what we will use in the next few days.

I give another update tonight.