Countless Philippine Muslims like Alayssa Macabaya were forced to flee their hometown of Marawi, after government troops battled radical Muslim terrorists for the last two months. The fighting destroyed half of the homes and killed more than 1,000 people, including civilians, CBN News informs.
Now, Macabaya lives two hours away in the predominantly Christian city of Cagayan de Oro. He and other Muslim refugees receive food, shelter, and basic necessities from the Christians who live there.
“We are not driving them from the city. They can stay as long as they want. Who knows, maybe some will settle down here.” Mayor Oscar Moreno told the Los Angeles Times.
“We are in the same boat together. Our strategy was, given of course that many of our brothers in Marawi would be displaced, we visibly offered to accept them in Cagayan de Oro.” Moreno noted.
However, not everyone is happy about mayor Moreno’s decision. The city’s social welfare officer Teodoro Sabuga-a said he’s received numerous security concerns from residents. “There are some Cayaganos who called my attention, ‘What are you doing?’ — as if there might be something that will happen,” he said.
The city currently provides it’s Muslim refugees three halal meals a day, $4 in daily spending money, prayer rooms, public schools, and access to sports facilities. Meanwhile, a local Catholic diocese, the central government, and a number of charities continue to flood the city with aid to accommodate the refugees, CBN News adds.
Despite the aid, life for refugees in Cagayan is no vacation. At least two families live in each room, separated by laundry lines. Meanwhile, the refugees patiently wait for the government rebuild their destroyed city, CBN News notes.