Courtesy of Philippine Star

A total of $100,000 has been awarded to the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF) by the US-Philippines Society (USPS) and the Project Handclasp Foundation (PHF) for medical and educational support to children displaced during the Marawi siege.

A portion of the grant will complement the health project of Makati Medical Center Foundation by providing complete medical equipment and training for medical professionals who will be manning a rural health unit to be set up in Barangay Sagonsongan, the largest transitional shelter site in the city.

Part of this grant will also be dedicated to building temporary learning centers and providing the Smart “e-school in a bag,” an e-learning tool that will help address the educational needs of displaced school children. According to a report from Task Force Bangon Marawi, over 86,000 children have been affected by the siege, and majority are still living in transitional shelters in temporary displacement locations.

Project Handclasp Foundation is a US Navy-related worldwide humanitarian mission that was led by retired US Navy Commander Charlie Tevelson for over 30 years. Tevelson passed away in 2015. Current Chair retired Rear Admiral Daniel McKinnon Jr. had served in Subic Bay in the Philippines. The project is “intended to help those now denied a normal life and unable to return to their schools and homes,” said McKinnon. The donation was given in the name of Tevelson who was “a leader in humanitarian assistance,” he added.

An additional contribution consisting of money raised by USPS through the Nurses Association of America and the Philippine Humanitarian Coalition will fund a livelihood forum that will include a jobs fair to be conducted in Marawi by PDRF together with USAID-SURGE and the Department of Trade and Industry.

“Returning the people of Marawi to a semblance of normal life will be a long process and this donation will target specific areas of particular need,” said PDRF president Rene “Butch” Meily.

As the country’s major private sector driver and coordinator for disaster resilience, PDRF is the cosecretariat of the United for Marawi consortium, which serves as a means of collaboration among the private sector and non-government and civil society organizations toward unifying initiatives for the recovery of the war-torn city.