PAGCOR reaches out to marawi evacuees

Published July 9, 2017, 12:05 AM


By Deedee M. Siytangco


“Those who leave everything in God’s hands will eventually see God’s hands in everything” I gave myself quality time to mark our 51st wedding anniversary, which started with a mass at the beautiful St. Maria Goretti  church on UN Avenue. My beloved Sonny, I am sure, sent kisses from his heavenly home, so I felt at peace .


We massgoers had extra blessings because the relic of our patron saint, St. Goretti, martyred teenager from Italy (rather than give up her virginity, she let her attacker  stab her), was taken out to be venerated by the  congregation. Thank you, Fr. Dave Concepcion, it made the day truly special.

Then it was a family dinner at the Spiral Cafe of the Sofitel Hotel, home of our Bulong Pulungan. It is always a special treat to have dinner at the Spiral with its grand spread of quality international dishes, especially their wide selection of cheeses, wines, cold cuts, and hams. And the service is impeccable!

Before that it was a trip to SM MOA Arena for a light-spectacular fantasy show, the Cirque du Soleil ‘s Toruk, inspired by James Cameron’s Avatar.

The production, its interactive lights, moving backgrounds, artistic gymnasts’ “flights” were very entertaining. Incidentally we watched it on its last day.

Then two days later,  it was off to watch the feel-good musicale from Ovation Productions, the stage adaptation of Sister Act at Solaire, which was packed with casino players. Was anyone scared of the rampage at Resorts World last month? It didn’t seem so!

Tonight is the last night of the show. Catch it if you can!

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Heartwarming news…When I heard Sunday mass at the Focolare chapel in Tagaytay recently, I was heartened to see a group of young Fofolarinos outside selling secondhand clothing to raise funds for Marawi evacuees.

They were pretty good secondhand clothing going for P50 for pants, P30 for tees, etc. Really, everything counts for our Marawi brothers and sisters at this very difficult time. Also now, some people are paying attention to domestic animals like dogs being caught in the battle in Marawi. They have been sending pet food for the poor animals that have had no food or water for days.

Some more good news….. 5,000 families displaced by the  ongoing armed conflict in Marawi City received much-needed provisions from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR). Chairman and CEO Andrea Domingo spearheaded the relief operations for evacuees who are temporarily sheltered at the gymnasiums of Barangays Maria Cristina and Sta. Elena.

PAGCOR initially allocated P3.7 million to provide evacuees with relief packs containing assorted food items, toiletries, and a malong (a native Muslim blanket).

According to Domingo, she did not hesitate traveling to Mindanao to extend aid to Marawi residents who were forced to flee their homes after members of the Maute terrorist group began taking over several communities since May 23. “Kaunting tulong lang po itong aming ipinag-kakaloob sa inyo at ito po’y simbolo ng aming pag-unawa sa inyong kalagayan at kasalukuyang pinagdadaanan. Gaya po ninyo, araw-araw rin po kaming nagdarasal na sana’y matapos na ang kaguluhan sa Marawi upang muli kayong makapagsimula ng inyong mga buhay,” she told  the evacuees  (This is just a small gesture of our desire to help you in your present situation. Like you, we pray every day that this messy situation in Marawi be over so you can continue with your normal lives),” she said.

Joining Domingo were PAGCOR president and COO Alfred Lim, directors Reynaldo Concordia and Gabriel Claudio, and assistant vice president for community relations and services Arnell Ignacio.

Twenty-six-year-old housewife Esnihaya Macapundag, a resident of City Jail West, Marinaut, Marawi City, lamented the uncomfortable living conditions at the evacuation site where her family has been staying for over a month now. Shortly after the war erupted in Marawi City, her family traveled more than seven kilometers on foot to seek refuge in Iligan City.

In spite of their uncomfortable situation, Macapundag admitted that their temporary shelter was the safest place for her loved ones at the moment. “Walang pinipiling tamaan ang bala kaya’t gaano man kahirap ang sitwasyon namin dito, kahit  maingay, matigas ang higaan, at mainit, mas ligtas kami dito. At saka, yung mga hindi magagandang nararanasan namin dito, naiibsan kapag nakakatanggap kami ng tulong galing sa iba’t ibang ahensya gaya ng PAGCOR. Kaya’t malaki pa rin ang pasasalamat namin na nandito kami (No one is spared from bullets which is why we are in this sorry situation here. But even if its noisy, and the beds are uncomfortable, we are safer here. And our experiences here are lightened when we receive help from people from different agencies like PAGCOR. So we are really grateful for their help),” shared Macapundag.