GLENDALE, California - By dancing Zumba for an entire day, Filipino-Americans here raised at least $3,700 or about P186,500 for Marawi City residents displaced by continuing firefights in the once bustling urban center.
The fund, channeled through the La Salle Academy in Iligan City, will be used to buy basic necessities for Marawi evacuees who have been cramped in evacuation centers since the siege in the Islamic City erupted over a month ago.
"Although we're having fun, we're also thinking about the devastation that's been going on in the Philippines. We want to make sure that we do our part," Joy Quiza of the Alexis Louis Quiza Foundation told ABS-CBN News.
"We've seen all over the news the devastation of the Maute group, and again, this is a way of helping out our Filipino community in Marawi," Roncel Quiza said.
The fund-raising project for victims of clashes in Marawi was conceptualized as some members of the Filipino community here have Mindanaoan roots.
More than 200,000 residents have fled their homes since firefights between government troops and Islamic State-linked terror groups erupted on May 23.
But hundreds are still trapped in the war zone as air strikes and ground assaults pounded the Islamic City.
As of June 29, the battle for the control of the lakeside city has left 82 government troops and 44 civilians dead.
At least 303 terrorists were killed but dozens remain holed up in the city's inner enclaves.