Saturday Aug, 24 2019 09:47:45 PM

IDPs call for an end to war if gov’t can’t effectively handle displacement

Mindanao Armed Conflict • 15:00 PM Wed Aug 7, 2019
Photos taken in Macasendig, Pikit, North Cotabato evacuation camp (Ferdinandh Cabrera)

PIKIT, North Cotabato - Residents from marshy village of Dasawao in Shariff Saydona, Maguindanao who crossed the marshland toward in Pikit, North Cotabato has demanded the government to halt offensives if it cannot not handle well the situation of evacuees in shelter areas.

Women from Dasawao Sector 4 were fuming mad after learning relief goods from the government landed in the hands of non-evacuees. They spoke to on condition they will not be named publicly.

In the video, they showed their disgust by destroying their tents and decided to come back home despite the high risks even risks as the situation on the ground remained volatile.

“We are the real evacuees here, how come we couldn’t get what the government has prepared for us?” one of the women IDPs said.

“If the government cannot manage to take care of displaced residents, then they should stop the war in our village and we will go back home,” said a 40-year-old woman in her 40’s asking she remained unidentified.

The Municipal Disaster head of Pikit town acknowledged the discrepancies during the distribution and sought for ways to resolve the issue.

Luckily, lawyer Naguib Sinarimbo, minister of the Ministry of the Interior and Local Government of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (MILG-BARMM) was around to extend help.

Sinarimo lead the region’s disaster arm - the Rapid Emergency Action on Disaster Incidence (READi-BARMM) in extending aid to affected families.

He bravely faced the leaders of grieving IDPs and settled the issue by equally providing them relief items.

READI-BARMM hauled in trucks of food aid and supplies on its second wave of relief mission on Tuesday in Barangay Macasendig, Pikit town where residents voted to be included in BARMM.

A day earlier, READi-BARMM conducted aid distribution in Barangay Dasawao, Datu Shariff Saydona Mustapha.

“Most of the residents that we catered today came from Dasawao,” Sinarimbo, who led the distribution, said. “Our teams despite the road challenges managed to reached them from the borders of Maguindanao and North Cotabato.”

More than 1,500 IDPs from Sultan sa Barongis and Shariff Saydona Mustapha of Maguindanao and from Barangays Kabasalan and Paidu Pulangi, Pikit North Cotabato were forced to flee after the military launched surgical operations against the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).

Sinarimbo said 955 displaced families are now settled in evacuation centers and others were categorized as “house-based” in Barangay Macasindeg, Pikit town and 543 families at Dasawao, Datu Shariff Saydona Mustapha.

Badria Sulayman, mother of eight, told that the children were forced to jump and swam at the height of air and ground assaults last week.

“We heard the planes following by loud explosions near our village, that was dawn attack, I thought I could not bring all of my children, I’m thankful enough we are all safe here,” she said.

Last July, a forum about IDPs attended by international aid agencies, civil society organizations, local and military officials in Shariff Aguak.

The organizers learned that many IDPs have not seen their homes for a long time due to continuing armed hostilities in their respective villages.

They submitted an appeal to BARMM government to address the issue of IDPs in Maguindanao.



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