Last week, on 24 July, the city of Jolo became the victim of a horrific conflagration that lasted for 10 hours and ultimately razed 2,801 houses (these houses mostly stilt-houses built along the shoreline of Bus-Bus and Lambayong). The human toll of this catastrophe included 17,519 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). They are now being sheltered in five evacuation centers around the city, including the Notre Dame of Jolo College Gym. The Notre Dame of Jolo also reports that 300 of its students and 15 of its personnel have lost houses and property to the fire. Some of the victims of the inferno are from the poorest sectors of the city: tribespeople of the Sama and the Badjau.

 

The Ateneo de Davao University appeals to the kindness and mercy of its University community, whose values were forged by its proud Ignatian tradition of being “men and women for others,” and by the University mission of service to society in the pursuit of social justice and the common good. The University implores everybody in the community—from its faculty, staff, and students—to contribute to our #Help4Jolo fund which we will donate to our sisters and brothers in Jolo, especially those pushed even further to the margins by this tragedy, so that they can recapture even a hint of normalcy in these trying times and so that they can have a foot to stand on once they start trying to recover all that they have lost. They will, after all, need to rebuild their houses and they will, after all, need to buy their basic necessities.

 

As such, donations of any amount will be accepted. Personal contributions from the faculty, staff, and students to their respective unit, department, office, and organization directors are welcome. Donors from different units may also leave their donations as offerings in the Holy Mass. No matter how little your individual contributions may be, rest assured that all of it will add up to a meaningful and substantial donation. You will have helped the least of our sisters and brothers—and this is what truly matters. For it is as our Lord Jesus Christ tells us in the Gospel, “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me…‘Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of my brothers, you did it to me” (Matt. 25:35-40).