Philippines

IDP Protection Assessment Report - Displacement in Iligan City, Lanao del Norte (AFP vs NPA) (IDPPAR No. 12, Issue No. 01, 2019)

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INCIDENT BACKGROUND

July 25, 2019, a firefight erupted between the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and members of the New People's Army (NPA) along the boundary of Barangay Kalilangan and Barangay Panoroganan, Iligan City. A group of alleged NPA members was reportedly sighted in the jungle of Sitio Dowa Dowa, Kalilangan, which then prompted the AFP to conduct ground operations. Affected barangays are Barangay Panoroganan (Sitio Kadiis and Sitio Pinasangka), Barangay Kalilangan, and Barangay Rogongon (Sitio Kiyanibong), Iligan City.

The affected barangays are also the areas affected by firefights between the AFP and NPA last January 2019. According to local authorities, no casualties were reported. A total of 242 families were reported displaced by the City Social Welfare and Development (CSWD) Office of Iligan City in its Disaster Response Operations Monitoring and Information Center (DROMIC) Report.

CURRENT SITUATION

During the field assessment conducted by Community and Family Services International (CFSI), around 273 families are still displaced and staying in various ECs and communities across three barangays. One hundred forty-eight (148) families from affected areas in Brgy. Kalilangan are still displaced in the declared ECs, namely: Tribal Hall EC, Tamana Building, and Mosque in the same barangay. Twenty one (21) families who are still in Brgy. Rogongon and have not yet returned to Sitio Kadiis, Brgy Panoroganan are staying with their relatives in Sitio Bayanihan, while 49 families from Sitio Kiyanibong are staying in Poblacion, also in Barangay Rogongon. Tribal leader Sultan Estorya Macadatar has also reported that there are 55 IDPs from Sitio Pinasangka, Brgy. Panoroganan staying in the Poblacion of Panoroganan. This data is still subject to validation.

As of 02 August, twenty four (24) families that were displaced to Brgy. Bayanihan have already returned to their residences in Sitio Kadiis, Brgy. Panoroganan. However, some have expressed their concern over on-going operations in the hinterlands which, in turn, affects their farming activities. A number of military forces were positioned in Sitio Kadiis in Barangay Panoroganan, while a number of military vehicles were seen in Barangay Rogongon, Iligan City.

According to Corporal Dex Yudo of the 51st Infantry Battallion (IB) of the AFP, IDPs can go back to Barangays Panoroganan and Kiyanibong since these areas are already declared safe. Although operations are ongoing in the forested area of Kalilangan, the military says it is nonetheless safe because the operation is outside the areas covered by the firefight. The return of IDPs was announced in the local radio, according to Cprl Yudo.

Philippine Red Cross Iligan City Chapter provided family food packs to the affected barangays, while food packs from the LGU were scheduled to be distributed 2 August 2019. The packs contain 6 kilograms of rice and some canned goods.