Officials visit Maguindanao evacuees
John Unson (The Philippine Star) - March 23, 2015 - 12:22pm

MAGUINDANAO, Philippines - Officials of the Anak Mindanao Partylist and the Kaya Natin Movement for Good Governance on Sunday toured evacuation sites to determine more interventions needed to ease the plight of evacuees.

There are now 125,302 evacuees cramped in relief sites in 11 of Maguindanao’s 36 towns, displaced by 21 encounters in the past three weeks between the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and combined Marine and Army units running after the group.

The BIFF is known for coddling foreign and local terrorists, for executing non-Moro captives, for collecting "protection money" from peasants and for enforcing a ruthless Taliban-style justice system in areas where it operates.

Amin Rep. Sitti Djalia Turabin-Hataman and Kaya Natin’s Marian Pastor Roces talked to evacuees during their tours in relief sites in Maguindanao’s Mamasapano and Talayan towns as part of an assessment process meant to determine what other means of support can outsiders and potential benefactors extend to thousands now cramped in squalid relief sites.

The Amin Partylist is a partner of the Humanitarian Emergency Assistance and Response Team (HEART) of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, which has been providing continuing relief and rehabilitation services to evacuees.

The ARMM regional government has been spending more than P1 million daily since February 28 for the food of the evacuees, majority of them reluctant to return to their villages, apparently threatened by the face-off between the military and the BIFF since late February.

The ARMM’s chief executive, Gov. Mujiv Hataman, earlier said Social Welfare Dinky Soliman assured to support HEART’s relief and rehabilitation services for thousands of Maguindanao’s displaced folks.

Gov. Hataman’s office is spending P12.3 million weekly for the food of the evacuees, a big number of them school children and women.

Rep. Hataman said she felt sad learning from ARMM officials that among the more than 100,000 evacuees are close to 3,000 pregnant ethnic Maguindanaon women, now exposed to extreme health hazards.

Rep. Hataman, who is of Tausog-Yakan descent, said the Amin Partylist and the non-government, peace-advocacy group represented by Roces are together in advocating for a peaceful resolution of the security problems besetting the province.

Sunday’s visit by Rep. Hataman and Roces to evacuation centers in Mamasapano and Talayan, both in the second district of Maguindanao, was assisted by ARMM Vice. Gov. Haroun Al-Rashid Lucman, local police and military officials and the joint ceasefire committee of the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. 

AMIN PARTYLIST AMIN REP AUTONOMOUS REGION BANGSAMORO ISLAMIC FREEDOM FIGHTERS EVACUEES GOOD GOVERNANCE HAROUN AL-RASHID LUCMAN HATAMAN MAGUINDANAO MAMASAPANO AND TALAYAN
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