Philippines : DSWD continues to aid the victims of armed conflict in Mindanao

Report
from Government of the Philippines
Published on 30 Sep 2008 View Original
Social Welfare and Development Secretary Esperanza I. Cabral today said that the DSWD has provided emergency relief assistance worth more than P30 million for the families who were caught in the armed clashes between the military and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in the provinces of North Cotabato, Sarangani and Sultan Kudarat in Central Mindanao; Lanao del Norte in Northern Mindanao; Basilan, Maguindanao and Shariff Kabunsuan in ARMM.

According to Secretary Cabral, "aside from providing immediate relief assistance, DSWD social workers also conduct supplemental feeding to children, 0 to six years old in evacuation centers in North Cotabato and Lanao del Norte. Likewise, day care and play therapy sessions for the children-evacuees are being held in the evacuation centers.

In addition, the Quick Response and Social Welfare and Development teams were immediately activated to assist the LGUs in data generation, relief distribution, and management of evacuation centers.

Meanwhile, there is an on-going masterlisting and profiling of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) through the issuance of Family Access Cards (FACs).

The DSWD has also provided construction materials for the construction of bunk houses as temporary shelters of the IDPs, Secretary Cabral continued.

Likewise, the Department of Budget and Management is scheduled to release additional P50 million for the Quick Response Fund of DSWD.

Over the weekend, Secretary Cabral enplaned to Cotabato City and ARMM and personally visited the victims of floods and armed conflict in the evacuation centers of the two regions.

In Cotabato City, the evacuation centers are located in Philippine Ports Authority Compound; Rosary Heights 7; and in Rosary Heights 8.

Secretary Cabral also held dialogues with the local chief executives in the affected areas.

"We are here on instructions of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to personally oversee the situation of the flood victims and evacuees and further assess their needs," Secretary Cabral stated during her dialogue with the local chief executives.

Secretary Cabral was accompanied by DSWD Assistant Secretary Ruel G. Lucentales, Assistant Director Pacita Sarino, Dr. Arnel Rivera of the Department of Health; Office of Civil Defense-National Disaster Coordinating Council officials Engr. Agnes Palacio, Ms. Marlita Sumaoang, and Ms. Anna-Liza Orallo; as well as Ms. Candelaria F. de Juan of the Department of Education.

"The situation is manageable, no one is going hungry and there is no major disease outbreak," Secretary Cabral disclosed. Further, there is continuing coordination among all concerned government agencies and non-government organizations.

The mayor of Datu Piang will provide two hectares of lot for the construction of bunkhouses, Secretary Cabral disclosed.

The Department of Public Works and Highways will build the bunkhouses, while the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority or TESDA will provide the training.

Aside from assessing the situation of the evacuees in Cotabato City, Secretary Cabral also visited Datu Piang, Maguindanao, where Datu Gumbay Piang Elementary Schools 1 and 2 serve as evacuation centers.

Secretary Cabral also distributed six kilos of rice to each of the families in Datu Gumbay Elementary School 1 evacuation center, which temporarily shelters almost 300 families due to the armed conflict in some areas of the town.

"It is important that the evacuees occupying the schoolrooms be transferred to another area so that the children who are now off-school for more than one month can use the classrooms," Secretary Cabral added.

"We need to strengthen our coordination, both with the local government units and the non-government organizations, as well as with the public and make it better because we are all concerned with the situation and the peace and stability in Mindanao," Secretary Cabral emphasized.

Further, Secretary Cabral stated that the national government is committed to provide sustained humanitarian assistance to the internally displaced families.

Call for unity and peace

Secretary Cabral laments over the situation of the evacuees as she hoped that peace and order will return to the area so that those who were displaced by the fighting could return to their homes.

"Everyone must work for peace. We must unite and help each other to have peace and be a prosperous country," Secretary Cabral appealed.

(DSWD - Social Marketing Service)