Iza Calzado visits Marawi, hopeful despite ‘images of a war-torn city’
Exactly a year ago this month, pro-ISIS militants laid siege to the city of Marawi, Lanao del Sur, reducing the capital to a battle-scarred shell of its former glory. People have since come together in efforts to rebuild Marawi, even celebrities who flew to the city themselves to witness the aftermath of the war at ground zero.
Award-winning actress Iza Calzado was one of the people who flew to Marawi city this month, taking to her Instagram page last week, May 23, to share to her fans and followers about her trip down south. She posted some pictures she took while she was in the area.
“I visited Marawi just last Monday and was faced with the gruelling images of a war torn city,” wrote Calzado. “There are still bombs buried in ground zero and it will take time and a lot of money to rebuild the city.”
Calzado further wrote that many people are still internally displaced, with some of them living only in tents inside gymnasiums-turned-refuge.
“To this day, people are still displaced with some still living in tents inside gymnasiums. The journey to rebuilding is a long one and I hope we find ways to support the community to rise again. #BangonMarawi.”
A year ago, Marawi was seiged by ISIS and Maute militant groups, who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State and wanted to declare Lanao Del Sur as a provincial ISIL territory. Philippine Armed Forces fought to regain control of the City. There began what is now known as The Battle of Marawi which officially ended in October 23, 2017. I visited Marawi just last Monday and was faced with the gruelling images of a war torn city. There are still bombs buried in ground zero and it will take time and a lot of money to rebuild the city. To this day, people are still displaced with some still living in tents inside gymnasiums. The journey to rebuliding is a long one and I hope we find ways to support the community to rise again. #BangonMarawi 🇵🇭
In another post made just two days ago, May 28, Calzado shared a picture of her with a young girl from Saguiaran, with the two of them wearing hijabs as they smiled for the camera.
“A week ago I saw the sweet and hopeful smile of this little girl from Marawi and I couldn’t help but be emotional as I sat inside the airplane on the way back home, thinking of what she has been through and where life will take her,” said Calzado.
Calzado hoped that in her own way, she would be able to make a difference in the life of other Maranao, saying that giving them empowerment and livelihood are the best ways to change the course of their lives.
A week ago I saw the sweet and hopeful smile of this little girl from Marawi and I couldn’t help but be emotional as I sat inside the airplane on the way back home, thinking of what she has been through and where life will take her. I hope that in my own small way I can make a difference in her life and in the life of the other Maranaos. Empowering them and giving them livelihood is the best way to change the course of their lives. Grateful to @sparkphilippines, together with the Austrian Embassy, for giving me an opportunity to do this work for the women and children of Marawi. I hope to be back there soon to find this little one and finally get the name of the girl with the precious smile. ❤
Calzado revealed that her opportunity to visit Marawi city was on account of Spark Philippines, a non-profit organization, and the Austrian Embassy. Calzado was a part of the I am Marawi Women (IM Women) Project, a post-rehabilitation initiative by Spark which aims to help disadvantaged Marawi women and girls. The team conducted an environmental scanning in the city during their time there.
Calzado isn’t the only celebrity using her influence to help rebuild Marawi. Back in January, action star Robin Padilla, a Muslim himself, visited the people of Marawi with actor Piolo Pascual and film director Joyce Bernal. Anne Curtis, too, conquered the London Marathon just last April for UNICEF, pledging a donation totaling P1 million for the children of Marawi. JB
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