From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 26): Dabawenyos offer care packages for Marawi troops
From hygiene items to expensive water filter gadgets, Dabawenyos have continued to offer “care packages” and “lifestraw” items for the government troops fighting against terrorists in Marawi’s war zone.
The items are their response to the donation drive initiated by the civil society organizations and the business community in collaboration with the Philippine Army.
The campaign dubbed: “One Love, One Mindanao, Support our Troops Caravan” has collected more than PHP100,000 worth of “care packages” on Sunday, the second day of the event. The campaign runs from June 24 to June 30, 2017.
A care package is a small parcel containing items that are needed by the soldiers deployed in the field. These products are hygienic items, operational items like undergarments, pain relief patches and comfort items like chocolates, cigarettes, among others.
Lt. Col. Ronaldo Valdez, commanding officer of the 10th Civil-Military Operations (CMO) Battalion of the Philippine Army based in Mawab, Compostlea Valley, said the Support for Troops campaign is only one of the series of donation drives launched by the CSOs and the business community.
On June 3, Valdez said they already sent an initial delivery for the soldiers and the displaced civilians in Marawi. This was followed on June 12 wherein the concert for cause resulted to more donations from the public.
He said three truckloads of various goods to include banana, chocolates, rice, water were delivered to the conflict zone. The goods were unloaded at the 103rd brigade based in Lanao del Sur.
“We delivered them straight to the conflict zone,” he stressed. Other civilian and humanitarian groups deliver relief in Iligan through the local government units.
But unlike other donation drives, Valdez said they do not accept cash although two donors insisted on cash - PHP15,000 and PHP30,000 leaving the money to their discretion. “We bought the items for the soldiers,” Valdez said.
The One Love, One Mindanao is a partnership with Robinsons where a donor can buy items available at the space provided at the Robinsons in Abreeza, pay them and drop at the designated box.
Aside from Robinsons, CSOs also launched the LifeStraw for a Hero. Lifestraw is an award winning technology that makes microbiologically contaminated water safe to drink. It filters 1,000 litres to 0.2 microns without the method of pumping and no chemicals added.
This technology is useful to soldiers in the field but it is scarcely used due to limited availability and expensive for an ordinary soldier.
Valdez said a donor can buy the item at R.O.X Philippines, which under the partnership should make the items available.
So far, Valdez said all donation drives are working for their soldiers. “We are lucky we are stationed here (Davao). This is our way of showing solidarity to them. And CSOs wanted to help our troops,” he said.
Hopefully, Valdez said, the Marawi crisis will end soon. If not, Valdez said they are still committed to support their comrades in the field.