WASHINGTON D.C. Fil-Ams in the Metro DC region, led by some alumni of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) are mounting a fund-raising drive to benefit soldiers and civilian victims of the Marawi siege.
The Impl.Project and PMA Alumni Association (PMAAA) East Coast chapter got together last July 29 to kick off the fund raising and discuss strategy to raise awareness and support for the thousands hurt or displaced by the fighting in Marawi.
On May 23, 2017, an ISIS inspired uprising led by the Maute group broke out in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur that has killed nearly 560 people, including 411 militants. Over 800 soldiers have been wounded in more than two months of clashes.
“The uprising aimed to establish a caliphate patterned after the failed attempt in Iraq and Syria, a regime that prided itself of utmost violence, murder, rapes and beheadings. It is a situation that Filipinos can never tolerate nor the country can afford,” explained Dan Jimenez, one of the convenors.
More than 200,000 Marawi residents have been forced out of their homes. “These ‘bakwits’ (refugees) are living in makeshift shelters and are in dire need of basic necessities. They, the wounded soldiers and the orphans and widows of the dead servicemen all need help in whatever way possible,” Jimenez said.
The Impl.Project, a 501C-3 non-profit, was represented by Justin Richmond; the PMAAA East Coast chapter was represented by Jimenez, Gab de Dios, Harold Ochoco and Philippine Charges d’Affaires to Baghdad Elmer Cato.
“The amount raise was but a miniscule portion of what is needed,” the group said, adding that “the spirit of unselfish giving is what the organizers and the community always strive for.”
“It is a must that our Muslim brothers and sisters know and realize that in their time of greatest need, we their Christian “kababayans” will be there to give what we could,” Jimenez said.
“The United States have given us a lot of opportunities to better our lives. The same opportunities that make it possible for us to help. We can not just look away. ISIS and its evil will grab that chance to poison the minds of the vulnerable and the suffering. The Filipinos’ fight is our fight,” he emphasized.
The fund-raising campaign will run till the end of August. Those wishing to help can go to: implproject.org/How-to-help/.