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The military opened portions of Marawi City’s Ground Zero on Oct. 25for journalists to see what it took to liberate the country’s lone Islamic City from Isis-inspired terrorists after five months of fighting. MindaNews file photo by Manman Dejeto

The heart that beats for Marawi

Like others who are working hard for their families and themselves, Aikel Sarip woke up feeling exhausted and heavy from yesterday’s work. He gazed at the ceiling trying to find a reason to go on, and there he saw a photo of people he cared about—their faces painted with smiles marked with hopes of a better life. Now that’s more than enough reason to jump off from bed.

As an Account Officer (AO) of Card, Inc. for more than two years now at Saguiaran Unit, Marawi City, Lanao del Sur, Aikel thought he already knew what life has to offer, not until…

Gunshots!

When he heard a series of gunshots, he thought it was just one of those conflicts that seem normal in Marawi City, or referred to as Rido, one characterized by sporadic outbursts of retaliatory violence between families and kinship groups as well as between communities.

It was the 23rd day of May when he was still on his way to remit his collection from the Card Center to the nearest local pawnshop when the firefight broke out and later intensified. People started to panic and talked about the threats of terrorism. Not long after, the firefight was right outside where they were, so they were left trapped for almost an hour trembling in fear for their own lives.

At the moment, all he could ever think of was his family and the things that he still dreamed to do.

Fortunately, the civilians inside the local pawnshop were allowed to go somewhere far from the battlefield. And so he managed to escape death.

Despite the unfortunate circumstance, Aikel continued his job as an AO 1 on the same Unit. Whenever he remembers the attack, he felt the same fear, yet because of it, he also came to understand more the value of life.

“So far, this job is very challenging, it helps me grow into a better version of myself. From being shy to being confident enough to effectively communicate to people, that kind of change. I love my job, even war can’t stop me from serving the community,’ Aikel said.

As an institution that ambitions to eradicate poverty in the country, Card Mutually Reinforcing Institutions (Card MRI), is now continually helping out internally displaced persons or colloquially referred to as ‘bakwit’ to recover from the damages of war.

Member institutions of Card MRI in Marawi continued its operations even on the verge of a wobbly ‘back to normal state’ declaration of the government. Recently, the Saguiaran Unit, along with the other units located in Marawi became operational, ready to serve more clients.

“They needed our service now more than ever, especially that Marawi clients and members are still recovering from the ruins of war,” he quipped, when asked if he thought of quitting the job after the traumatic experience.

Aikel and Card MRI strongly believe that Marawi will rise from the hard fall and when it does, it will stand taller than before. (card mri)

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TREND MAKER. Mindanao Gold Star Daily was established in 1989 to set ablaze a new meaning & flame to the local newspaper business. Throughout the years it continued its focus and interest in the rural areas & pioneered the growth of countryside journalism.

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