MARAWI CITY — The Office of Vice President Leni Robredo, under its Angat Buhay program, turned over a dozen more housing units to families displaced by the Marawi siege, as part of its continued efforts to assist our brothers and sisters in the war-torn city.

VP Leni led the turnover on Friday afternoon, June 28, where she had the opportunity to see the developments in Angat Buhay Village, a transitory housing initiative funded by partners from the private sector. The 12 additional units were constructed through donations from the Latter-Day Saints Charities. 

The OVP opened the Angat Buhay Village in July last year, with 60 housing units funded by the Piso Para sa Laban ni Leni initiative, and assistance from Sigma Delta Phi – Southern California Alumnae Association, JS Unitrade, and United Architects of the Philippines – Quezon City Elliptical Chapter. The housing project is implemented in partnership with Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan and the City Government of Marawi, in coordination with Task Force Bangon Marawi and Lanao del Sur Electric Cooperative, Inc. (LASURECO).

During her visit, Robredo lauded the strength and resilience shown by the residents, who spent months in evacuation centers or as home-based evacuees, before they were selected as beneficiaries for the housing units.

“Alam po namin kung ano iyong hirap na dinanas niyo, pero bawat baba namin, parang kayo pa iyong nagbibigay sa amin ng lakas. Ipinakita niyo po na sa gitna ng napakaraming kahirapan, namumuo pa din sa puso at isipan ng bawat isa iyong pag-asa,” she told the residents. “Nakita po namin kung paano magtulung-tulungan iyong mga tao dito, paano handang magsakripisyo lahat, kaya naman po kami, hindi po kami nagsasawang bumalik-balik para bigyan kayo ng kung anuman ang makakagaan sa dinadala niyo.”

VP Leni also encouraged the residents to keep faith amid the difficulties they continue to face, as many of them lament the pace of the rehabilitation process.

Robredo assured them that her office and its partners continue to seek ways to assist them as they work to get back on their feet—noting the Maranao’s ingenuity and perseverance.

“Napakalaki ng pag-asa sa ating mga puso, na basta magkapit-bisig tayo, magtulung-tulungan, makikita din natin iyong liwanag. Wala lang bibitaw,” she said.

“Alam ko po na iyong pinagdaanan niyo walang kasing hirap, walang katulad, pero nandito [kayo] ngayon—nakukuha niyo pang ngumiti, nakukuha pang mangarap ulit. Kaya kami naman po, nandito kami para tumulong na maabot niyo ang iyong mga pangarap,” she added.

VP Leni started her Marawi visit on Friday with the turnover of classroom buildings for Harat Medina Central Elementary School, Mapandi Elementary School, and Bae Inomba Blo Bacarat Central Elementary School. A two-classroom building was donated for each of the schools by Angat Buhay partners, including PhilAm Foundation, LBC Foundation, Team Energy Foundation, Jollibee Group Foundation, and Double Dragon Properties Corp.

She also spent time with displaced women who took part in the I am Marawi Women (I.M. Women) Weaving and Empowerment Program, an initiative of Angat Buhay partner SPARK! Philippines and the Austrian Embassy, in partnership with Sinagtala PH. 

Here, VP Leni brought threads for the weavers, courtesy of her office and Ms. Marife Malabanan, a Filipino based in Vienna, Austria. She also handed out lipsticks from Pretty Looks—a request the weavers made when she first visited their weaving center on her birthday last April 23. 

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