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PIA Press Release

Gov't provides refuge to residents affected by clashes

by Jemin B. Guillermo

Roxas City (21 August) -- The government has been providing refuge to residents who are affected by the armed clashes in Mindanao.

Social Welfare and Development Secretary Esperanza Cabral said that the needs and concerns of the affected families, such as food, water and a safe place to stay had been promptly addressed.

Cabral said that the DSWD has been assisting the affected families and individuals who were caught in the armed clashes between the military and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in North Cotabato if they cannot return to their barangays immediately.

Aside from providing immediate relief assistance, DSWD social workers also conduct stress debriefing sessions to the evacuees and play therapy sessions for the children, she said, adding that day care sessions are held in the evacuation centers.

Cabral said that the DSWD-Field Office 12 provided more than P2 million worth of relief assistance for the affected families through the concerned local government units (LGUs) in North Cotabato.

In addition, the DSWD airlifted more than one million pesos worth of emergency relief supplies to Cotabato City on August 12 via a C-130 of the Philippine Air Force of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (PAF-AFP). These include tarpaulin and plastic rolls, as well as sleeping mats.

She said that the Quick Response and Social Welfare and Development (QR/SWAD) teams were immediately activated also to assist the LGUs in data generation, relief distribution, and management of evacuation centers.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has earlier directed all concerned government agencies to step up relief operations in the established evacuation centers to respond to the needs of families displaced by the MILF occupation.

The President ordered "to bring back to normal the lives of the affected families, especially in the areas of health and education," PNP Director General Avelino Razon said.

The directive came following the National Security Council-Cabinet Group meeting which was presided over by President Arroyo. (PIA) [top]

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