Foreign aid pours in for Marawi victims

Pia Lee-Brago and Helen Flores - The Philippine Star
Foreign aid pours in for Marawi victims

The Korean government, through its Ambassador to the Philippines Kim Jae-shin, yesterday delivered to the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) P5 million in humanitarian aid for civilians displaced by the conflict. Miguel de Guzman, File

MANILA, Philippines - Donations and assistance from other countries have started pouring in for victims of the armed conflict in Marawi City.

The Korean government, through its Ambassador to the Philippines Kim Jae-shin, yesterday delivered to the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) P5 million in humanitarian aid for civilians displaced by the conflict.

At the turnover ceremony held at the PRC Tower in Mandaluyong City, Kim expressed his condolences to the victims and his hope that the conflict will end as soon as possible.

He said Korea wants to help in easing the difficulties of the people in evacuation centers with its donation.

The aid will be spent to provide water, food and non-food items to the evacuees and to run portalets and bathing facilities in various evacuation centers housing the displaced residents of Marawi.

“The Republic of Korea is committed to fight against terrorism and is ready to provide necessary help to the Philippines in this time of difficulty,” the Korean embassy in Manila said.

The Indian government has also offered assistance to the rehabilitation of Marawi as it vowed support for the country’s fight against terrorism.

The country’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj relayed the offer in a telephone conversation with Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano yesterday.

According to a statement from the Indian embassy, the two ministers discussed bilateral relations and matters of mutual interest and concern.

The ministers also spoke on the current situation in Marawi.

Swaraj conveyed her deepest sympathies and condolences to the victims of the ongoing firefight between government troops and members of the Maute group in war-torn Islamic city.

“Minister Swaraj expressed the solidarity of the people of India with the Filipino people in their fight against terrorism and offered India’s assistance to supplement the ongoing rehabilitation efforts,” the embassy said, although the amount was not disclosed.

Grievance redress  system

As the firefights in Marawi City continue, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has opened a “grievance redress system” for affected families that failed to meet the deadline for the Disaster Assistance Family Access Card (DAFAC) registration last July 5.

While the registration period has already ended, a new grievance redress system can be used to entertain those who are not yet on the list, according to DSWD-Disaster Response Assistance and Management Bureau (DReAMB) Director Felino Castro V. Castro maintained that having a “clean master list” of all internally displaced persons (IDPs) is important “so that more will benefit from other services, especially when the early recovery and rehabilitation phase of disaster response commences.”

DAFAC is the system used to validate the status of  IDPs and serves as a reference for the provision of additional and appropriate interventions, especially for those displaced by the armed conflict.

It records the names of family members and the assistance that they have already received from the DSWD and other humanitarian agencies. Due to the frequent change of location of IDPs, however, the Disaster Response Cluster led by the DSWD has decided to stop the registration to check possible cases of double entries and to sanitize the master list which will be used as a basis for those who will receive further interventions.

DSWD Undersecretary for Operations and Programs Group Protective Programs Hope Hervilla noted that restricting the submission of entries will give room for more IDPs to receive services.

Volunteers have been tapped to encode DAFAC entries to provide more accurate data on the number of affected families and interventions provided.   – With Sheila Crisostomo, Jose Rodel Clapano

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