On July 11, 2017, the City of San Juan turned over to Synergeia Foundation close to P500,000 worth of relief goods for the residents of Marawi City.
Marawi City is one of Synergeia’s project sites, and San Juan officials hope to tap the foundation’s existing network there for the efficient delivery of the assistance package. 2GO
Express, Inc. has also generously volunteered to be the official courier for the relief goods.
The turnover ceremony was held at Pinaglabanan Elementary School, and was attended by
San Juan City Mayor Guia Gomez, City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Admin and Training Officer Bryant Wong, DepEd Schools District Superintendent (OIC) Dr. Joel T.
Torrecampo, Synergeia Mentor and Former Customs Commissioner John Phillip “Sunny” Sevilla, and Synergeia Operations Officer Annie de Leon, among other guests.
IT STARTED WITH A FACEBOOK POST
Wong, who is a student of Synergeia CEO and President Dr. Milwida Guevara at the Ateneo School of Government, posted on Facebook asking San Juan City residents to donate to the displaced families in Marawi City.
“I’ve been looking for a foundation to partner with, one which can ensure that the goods will actually reach Marawi. From Dr. Guevara’s stories of their activities in Marawi, I really saw her efforts and desire to help there, which is why we chose to partner with Synergeia,” Wong said.
Dr. Torrecampo, a fellow public servant in San Juan City, saw the post on his timeline and contacted Wong, pledging his support for the initiative. He issued a memorandum to all schools in the city, asking them to organize donation drives.
The effort was spearheaded by school principals both from public and private schools, who cascaded the call to students and their parents. Wong said that the response from the community was overwhelming, and before long donations of canned goods, diapers, toiletries, and other goods started pouring in. “People here in San Juan City really have the heart to help. And I think that has a lot to do with the leadership of the mayor. I guess the desire to help really is contagious,” he adds.
SCHOOLS HELPING SCHOOLS, CITIES HELPING CITIES
Thirty-three displaced students from Marawi are currently enrolled in San Juan City public schools, and these students also received special relief packages during the turnover ceremony.
Remarking on the all-out support that San Juan City’s schools have extended to Marawi, Dr. Torrecampo said: “There are so many things we can do; if one person can do something to help,
how much more can we achieve if there is a collective effort?”
The city government also pledged a counterpart donation of P150,000 in addition to the relief goods already collected. “They are our brothers and I know their plight. Our Maranao constituents have family there, so their hurt is also my hurt. And I am very grateful to our Muslim brothers here because without them, San Juan City won’t be as prosperous as it is,” said Mayor Gomez.
SPARKS OF HOPE
Since partnering with Synergeia Foundation three years ago, Marawi City has seen its National Achievement Test (NAT) scores increase from 54% to 62%—two points above the national
average. While the events in Marawi are a huge setback to this momentum, Dr. Guevara remains confident that the city will once again find its footing with the help of concerns citizens.
“In our capacity-building workshops, we have an exercise that teaches participants that no single person or community holds all the pieces needed to solve educational challenges. This
generous donation from San Juan City proves that no matter who—or where—you may be, you can help make education work in our country. On behalf of Synergeia, I offer my heartfelt
gratitude to Mayor Gomez, Bryant Wong, Dr. Torrecampo, and all the principals, teachers, parents, and students who contributed to this relief effort.”
Localities, companies, and individuals who wish to help the people of Marawi City may course their donations through Synergeia Foundation. For more information, you may call (02) 376-
1122 / (02) 433-0112 and look for Ms. Annie de Leon.