MANILA, Philippines – Months after the end of the war, Marawi City’s displaced residents have yet to return to their homes. Thousands still live in evacuation centers at the neighboring town of Saguiaran, wondering when they’ll be able to resume their daily lives.
Arracma Lumabao, one of the refugees, chooses to listen to music to get through every day. “Pag naririnig ko yung song na ‘yun, parang gusto ko lumaban,” she said. (When I listen to music, I feel stronger.)
Marawi’s streets have always been filled with vibrant music, but since the war, the city has been silent. Eager to cheer up the refugees, Coke Studio, local artists, and teen volunteers united to help bring music back to Marawi.
Last December 1, musicians from the Iligan Institute of Technology, the Iligan Medical Center Hospital, and St. Michael’s College Iligan took the stage in Sta. Elena Gym. A solidarity concert and hydration drive were also held the following day at Saguiaran Covered Court, which featured Coke Studio Artists, the Ransom Collective and Franco as well as more local bands.
Student volunteers also distributed hydration kits to over 5,800 Marawi evacuees in Sta. Elena, Saguiaran Gym and the Iligan City National School of Fisheries.
"Nakakataba nang puso na makita silang nakangiti at nagsasaya (It warms our hearts to see them smiling and having fun). We're so happy that we got to share our music to the people of Marawi," said a member of The Ransom Collective.
"Masaya kami na nakatulong kami sa mga taga-Marawi kasama ng Coke,” said Franco Reyes of the band Franco. (We’re happy that we were able to help Marawi residents together with Coke.)
The refugees visibly enjoyed the mini-concerts. "Napasaya nila iyong mga tao dahil sa music. Nabigyan niyo kami ng masayang buhay ngayong araw na ito," said Junainah Motalib, a Marawi evacuee. (They brought joy to the people because of music. You gave us a happy day.)
To culminate the efforts, Coke Studio also held a live benefit concert for the victims of the Marawi siege. Held last December 9 at the SM Mall of Asia Concert Grounds, the concert featured all 13 Coke Studio Artists: Sandwich, Franco, The Ransom Collective, Autotelic, Gracenote, Gab and John of Urbandub, Abra, Curtismith, Ebe Dancel, Reese Lansangan, BP Valenzuela, Noel Cabangon and Moonstar 88.
At these events, Coke also announced that they will help build a Little Red Schoolhouse in Marawi by 2019. Students from all over the country may also contribute by donating empty Coke bottles through red recycling bins that will be placed in select schools. The funds that will be raised through the recycling drive will be used to purchase additional needs of the school. Students may also post photos of them participating in the drive for a chance to win limited edition Coke Studio headphones. – Rappler.com
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