Philippines

Philippines: AFP urges evacuees to go back home

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ICC Iligan City (4 November) -- The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has called on the internally displaced persons (IDP) who still remain inside the various evacuation centers (EC) of Lanao del Norte (LDN) to go back to their original places or origin.

"They can now go back home safely to their respective communities as peace and order situation have normalized," said Lt. Col. Agane Adriatico, Civil Military Operations (CMO) Chief, G7, First Infantry Division (IID), Philippine Army.

The situation in LDN has returned back to normal and people should no longer fear of the presence of the lawless MILF group (LMG) since the military and the police have already fully secured the areas for more than two months now, he said.

Adriatico, also emphasized that people should not make it a reason that it's the military who do not allow or permit them to go back or return back to their communities. "In fact, we have really advised them to vacate the evacuation centers, so they will not be infected by illnesses due to congestion."

However, despite the assurance of government troops that everything is under control and that they are there to protect them against LMG, it is still advisable for people to be always on guard adding that security is everybody's concern and not just of the military.

Meanwhile, he said it's now the job of the local chief executives of these war-affected areas to convince their people to go back home and live their normal lives and encourage them not to rely so much on the humanitarian and relief assistance of the government.

"Given its limited resources, the government has to attend to the needs of other people, aside from those of the IDPs," Adriatico added.