Maranao IDPs avoid evacuation centers, says official
ICC-Cotabato City (17 November) -- Internal displaced persons (IDPs) from Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur who are mostly Maranaos do not seek shelter at evacuation centers.
This was disclosed by NFA-ARMM Assistant Director Ofelia Sero in a press conference conducted by the Regional Information Command Center (RICC) and sponsored by the Philippine Information Agency, Region XII, held here Thursday, November 13, 2008.
The revelation was made by Sero in response to the query of a reporter who asked her if Maranao evacuees of Lanao del Sur were also given rice assistance like that of Maguindanao, Shariff Kabunsuan province and other ARMM areas.
"Maranao evacuees do not seek shelter at evacuation centers. They rather go to their relatives. This is one thing that makes it different for us (NFA) to track their exact location and number. We know that this difficulty in monitoring these evacuees is due to the closeness of Maranaos to their kins," Sero explained.
Relatives of these evacuees, Sero added, cannot afford to see them (evacuees) experiencing discomfort and hardship in evacuation centers.
However in fairness, she pointed out, our office had already extended rice assistance to Lanao del Sur through the local officials of the province.
"Reports we received from DSWD-ARMM and OCD-ARMM and other service providers where we channeled our rice assistance stated that a good volume of rice had already been extended to Maranao evacuees. We will continue monitoring these evacuees as far as their rice need is concerned and we will continue extending them help within our capacity," Sero said.
According to ARD Sero, reports of rice assistance extended by NFA-ARMM to Maranao evacuees in Lanao del Sur can be verified, particularly from DSWD-ARMM and RDCC-OCD of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. (MCD-RICC Cotabato City) [top]