Southeast Asia

Filipinos Face ISIS in Marawi

Christians on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines are caught in a war.

By Bo Barredo

The headlines read like something out of a Hollywood film:  

500 ISIS militants invade the Islamic city of Marawi. Tens of thousands flee their homes. Militant extremists, aided by ISIS elements, use women and children as human shields. While many flee, many other families are trapped inside their homes. Government forces struggle to retake the city. People are begging for food and water. One hundred forty thousand have fled so far.

Unfortunately this isn’t a film. These headlines are real. The city of Marawi, which I visited with my wife several years ago, is currently in a critical situation. 

With continuous fighting since last week, relief agencies have been hard put to take humanitarian aid to people who are literally struggling to survive without food, water, and basic necessities. 

Militants set up check points to identify non-Muslims by asking them to recite verses from the Quran. A number were killed on the spot. 

There are photographs of children holding signs reading, “We need food!”

Our ministry partner interviewed a number of those fleeing the terror-stricken area. Some responses: “So much gunfire behind us. All we could think of is run!” “These militants are animals. They are evil!” “Our house is bombed and burned down. We have nowhere to go after this.” “We only had our clothes and underwear when we fled. Can someone provide for us?”

There is something that can be done. And you can help. One of ANM’s ministry partners is strategically working with an NGO (non-governmental organization) in the nearby city of Iligan. The workers from this NGO are courageously assisting those in Marawi. 

One source comments, “These brave souls have been very busy going in and out of Marawi in the heat of the conflict, trying to help evacuate people caught in the crossfire. 

These brave workers have come up with an ingenious plan. They would like to purchase and distribute 1000 or more malongs to those in Marawi and to evacuees. 

A malong is the cotton “tube skirt” that is found in much of Southeast Asia. (It is also known as a longyi or sarong.) This has many uses. Not only does it provide clothing, but it can also be used as towel, blanket, baby sling, sun shade, portable dressing room, hammock, or cloth to wrap supplies in. 

This simple item will be both versatile and functional for the recipients, especially considering their critical situation. The demand is urgent, as the war is ongoing and the need is immediate.

Would you consider making a donation to help bring relief to the people of Marawi? You can give to purchase malongs. Each malong only costs $6. Your donations will also help to provide food, water, and relief for those suffering in the siege of Marawi. 

Finally, would you please keep the people of Marawi in your prayers?

To help, Give here

Bo Barredo is President of Advancing Native Missions.


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