Philippines: B'laan IDPs in Tupi, South Cotabato get aid from EC-funded program

AID FOR IDPs. Women in Barangay Tubeng, Tupi, South Cotabato (left), bear the heat of the noon-day sun, as they line up to register for assorted medicines, vitamins and baby food supplements (right), at a recent relief operation and medical mission initiated the Government of the Philippines-United Nations Development Program-European Commission(GOP-UNDP-EC) Programme on Rehabilitating Internally Displaced Persons and Communities in Southern Philippines (IDP Programme). Some 10,000 displaced families of conflict-affected areas in Mindanao are being targeted for rehabilitation. MEDCo
TUPI, SOUTH COTABATO- Over a hundred families mostly from the B'laan Tribe in a remote barangay here have recently benefited from a relief operation of a donor-funded government program for internally displaced persons, or IDPs.

Relief items consisting of food and non-food essentials, as well as medicines were handed over to families in Barangay Tubeng whose livelihood and properties were severely affected by past armed conflicts in parts of central Mindanao.

The relief operation forms part of the activities implemented by the Government of the Philippines-United Nations Development Program-European Commission (GOP-UNDP-EC) Programme on Rehabilitating Internally Displaced Persons and Communities in Southern Philippines, or the IDP Programme.

The families received food staples such as rice, noodles, dried fish, sardines, mongo, iodized salt, brown sugar, coffee, and milk; non-food essentials such as mosquito net and water container; as well as assorted medicines like paracetamol, pain relievers and vitamins.

The provision of relief goods in Barangay Tubeng, is a part of the IDP Programme's key initiatives to provide basic services for the relief and rehabilitation of IDPs in Southern Mindanao. The activity was carried out in collaboration with the local government of Tupi, South Cotabato, and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Tupi Mayor Valentin Mariano has cited the support extended by the IDP Programme to Barangay Tubeng and noted the programme as the government's initial steps in promoting peace.

He also expressed hope that relief and rehabilitation efforts of the programme would continue, so that more development initiatives can be implemented for the barangay.

He pointed out that, in turn, the people from Barangay Tubeng should pursue a life of peace, and avoid supporting groups that promote conflict and lawlessness.

The IDP Programme is being implemented with the support of the European Commission through the United Nations Development Programme and the Government of the Philippines through the Mindanao Economic Development Council (MEDCo), as the lead implementing agency.

The Programme targets the rehabilitation of at least 10,000 families in 15 priority provinces in Mindanao.

Since the initial run of its operations in October 2004, the IDP Programme has already made initial gains in providing relief and confidence-building, rehabilitation, as well as culture of peace and access to justice, for the communities affected by armed conflicts.

As of 30 June 2005, 32 out of 35 identified rehabilitation areas have been given various interventions. For relief assistance and confidence building, 20,506 IDP families have been served with special relief as well as emergency assistance.

In seeking to establish a culture of peace and access to justice for the IDPs, the IDP programme has completed the curriculum design and training modules for the promotion of Shari'ah Islamic Jurisprudence and traditional/formal justice systems. The programme is also renovating 4 Shari'ah courts and constructing 2 Shari'ah courts.

Furthermore, the IDP Programme is currently intensifying the coordination and evaluation of proposals from implementing partners in order to concretize partnerships in the delivery of services to the IDPs.