WATCH: ‘I suffer when my children suffer’

No parent would want to see their children suffer.

For the thousands of parents displaced by armed conflict in Marawi City, there is no greater pain than seeing their kids having a hard time.

“Us parents, of course we suffer when we see our children suffer,” Saipoding said in Filipino. “Especially when you see them sleeping on the floor, in this environment.”

Saipoding is a 31-year-old father and community leader from Marawi. 

When the clashes between a local armed group and government forces broke out in his hometown, he and his family fled aboard a tricycle.  

Together with his pregnant wife and three children, Saipoding has been living in an evacuation center for over three months now.


Surviving, coping

Most people complain of the heat inside overcrowded evacuation centers. On rainy nights, however, it can get cold.  

Displaced families have no choice but to sleep on the floor – with only mats, blankets, or flattened cardboard boxes protecting their backs warm.

“You just have to find a way,” Saipoding said. “Find a way to lessen you children’s pain.”

Although living situations can get tough, Saipoding finds comfort at the sight of laughing children. He observed that displaced children find strength in each other.

“They play together,” he added. “They also study together in tents.” (WATCH: A displaced teacher's wish for Marawi's children)



Saipoding’s wife is four months pregnant. He hopes that by the time she gives birth, peace would finally reign over Marawi.

“I hope that while she’s still pregnant, the Marawi crisis will already end,” Saipoding shared. “I hope we can return home before she gives birth.”

He hopes that his children ages 5, 7, and 8 could go back to their normal childhoods.

No child should ever grow up in fear or in pain. All children deserve a healthy start in life.

Together, let’s save Marawi’s children.

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