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Marawi kids join games

Dreams live on for children evacuees of war-torn Marawi City as the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) recently conducted a special Children’s Games for some 350 participants in Iligan City, barely 37 kilometers away from the city in crisis.

While armed clashes between government troops and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Isis)-inspired Maute Group remained fresh in their minds, children evacuees were given a two-day breather to just enjoy a day of fun, laughter and friendship that brought out the best in them – their talents, hopes, prayers and dreams.

Yes, Christian and Muslim children played together at the Sgt. Miguel Canoy Memorial Cultural School in Baru-un in traditional Filipino games, volleyball and football, among others.

Eleven-year-old Almira of the Maranao tribe cited the Children’s Games as “maganda, masaya.” The fifth grader said she won’t ever forget playing soccer and volleyball as well as the magic show.

However, the war did not dampen her spirits but ignited even more the desire to be able to serve the country when she grows up.

“Gusto kong maging sundalo,” Almira said, inspired by the way the soldiers fought and risked their lives to save their city from the extremist rebels.

She is the fifth among 10 children of a carpenter and a hospital staff but two of her siblings died of cancer.