War against BIFF displaces 40,000 individuals

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AT least 40,000 individuals have been displaced by the war waged by the Armed Forces of the Philippines against the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in at least 8 towns of Maguindanao.

The fighting that started a week after the Mamasapano incident in January 25 disrupted the classes of at least 16,000 elementary students from the towns of Shariff Saydona, Mamasapano, Datu Unsay, Shariff Aguak, Datu Salibo, Rajah Buayan, Datu Hoffer and Datu Saudi.

Gov. Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao convened the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (RDRRMC) in a meeting Monday where he emphasized the urgency of responding to the needs of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

On Tuesday, the regional government conducted a humanitarian mission in the towns of Mamasapano, Datu Saudi and Datu Salibo in Maguindanao. The affected individuals were given food and medical assistance, psychosocial interventions and sessions on mine-risk education.

Since Saturday, 28 February, the ARMM through its Humanitarian Emergency Action Response Team (Heart) served a total of 7, 208 families. A total of 4,323 families benefited from today’s humanitarian mission.

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Hataman said the regional government is closely coordinating with the national government to ensure that the basic needs of affected individuals will be addressed.

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One of the concerns is the interrupted classes of the school children.

Hataman said he has directed officials of the Department of Education to check on the status of schools and the children.

Photo by Jo Henry | ARMM Heart
Photo by Jo Henry | ARMM Heart

“In areas where there are no fighting already, the teachers could perhaps start classes again,” he said.

Hataman admitted that health and sanitation are also major concerns.

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“We are proactively addressing this issue,” he said. “Health officials and workers are o their feet to assess the needs of the affected communities.”

 

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