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P38.6-M center for Cotabato relief ops to be launched

John Unson - Philstar.com

COTABATO CITY, Philippines — Officials on Monday launched the construction here of a P38.6 million operations center of the Humanitarian Emergency Assistance and Response Team (HEART) of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

The HEART, established by ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman more than two years ago, is an emergency and disaster response contingent, which saw action in many part of the autonomous region hit by calamities and conflicts in the past 24 months.

Hataman led Monday’s groundbreaking rite for the building designed to house all offices under HEART and a harboring facility for its workers, who all underwent special trainings on disaster mitigation missions.

To rise inside the 32-hectare ARMM compound here, the three-storey building, which has a 14.85 by 38.75-meter floor area, will have an operation planning room, a conference room, staff quarters, and a warehouse, where HEART workers are to keep their rescue gears and relief supplies ready for dispersal to calamity-stricken areas.

The building project is to be bankrolled out of a grant from the national government.

The HEART, operating under Hataman’s ministerial control, is being assisted by the ARMM’s public works, health and social welfare departments.

While the HEART covers only the five ARMM provinces, Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, it extended relief and rehabilitation services to more than 100,000 villagers driven away from their homes by the deadly siege in September 2013 of several barangays in Zamboanga City by followers of the renegade Nur Misuari, founder of the Moro National Liberation Front.

The HEART also assisted thousands of residents in dozens of towns in Visayas devastated by Typhoon Yolanda in the same year.

AUTONOMOUS REGION HATAMAN HEART HUMANITARIAN EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE AND RESPONSE TEAM MORO NATIONAL LIBERATION FRONT MUJIV HATAMAN MUSLIM MINDANAO NUR MISUARI SULU AND TAWI-TAWI TYPHOON YOLANDA ZAMBOANGA CITY
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