BAGONG BAYANI TO BAYANI | OFWs sending postcards, letters to soldiers in Marawi City

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Soldiers scan the rooftops for snipers as an APC clears the way ahead for their advance, in this May 26, 2017 InterAksyon file photo by Erwin Mascarinas. The Blas Ople center said OFWs are eager to send letters and postcards to the troops facing deadly risks every day.

MANILA – Prayers to protect you, and letters to keep your heart going. With Filipinos from all walks of life spontaneously responding to a call for letters to soldiers fighting a deadly battle with terrorists in Marawi, an advocacy group has urged the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to instruct all diplomatic posts to accept postcards and letters written by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) for the troops.

The letter barrage that the Blas F. Ople Policy Center thinks would be seized on by OFWs is part of the #OgopMarawi (“Help Marawi”) campaign of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

In calling on the public to send letters to military troops fighting the Maute Group in Marawi City, Philippine Army chief General Roberto Arevalo said earlier, “every act of kindness is a message of support for peace.”

The Blas F. Ople Policy Center said Monday millions of overseas Filipino workers around the world would like to take part in #OgopMarawi to show their support to the government’s fight against violent extremism.

“Our OFWs from every nook and corner of the world are eager to participate. They want to boost the morale of our soldiers. The only question is how can they make sure that postcards of hope and peace from our OFWs throughout the world do make it all the way to Marawi City. We urge the DFA through its diplomatic posts to serve as a bridge between our OFWs and the Philippine Army,” Susan Ople, president of the Blas F. Ople Policy Center said.

Ople also asked the Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration (OWWA) to accept shoebox donations from OFW families and Filipino communities abroad.

Colonel Thomas Sedano Jr. of the Philippine Army’s Civil Military Operations Group (CMOG) identified the three main projects under #OgopMarawi:

• Project shoebox to provide school supplies to about 50,000 children and students;
• “Bayanihan para sa mga Bayani ng Bayan” to provide clothes, hygiene kits, and inspirational messages for the troops; and,
• Relief operations to provide aid to thousands of civilians displaced by the conflict.

Recently, the Philippine Postal Corporation (PHLPost) expressed willingness to deliver letters of support to the soldiers fighting in Marawi City.

The Ople Center said that for OFWs, it would be easier for Filipino community groups to gather postcards and letters and course these through the nearest Philippine embassy or Philippine Consulate General. “They can mail their postcards and letters bearing positive messages for our soldiers to the embassy, which can then forward these to the DFA in Manila via diplomatic pouch,” Ople said.

“The DFA and OWWA can pave the way for millions of OFWs to start sending postcards and letters of hope and support to our military troops in Marawi City and even for the families staying in evacuation areas. This will give life to the concept of heroes helping heroes for the sake of peace,” Ople said.