Gov't spending for IDPs in Mindanao reaches P70 million, says DSWD
ICC General Santos City (24 November) -- Government emergency relief assistance for the internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Mindanao has reached P70 million, according to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
In a news statement posted on its website Monday, Secretary Esperanza I. Cabral said the needs of all IDPs who were caught in the armed skirmishes between government forces and the lawless Moro Islamic Liberation Front (LMG) in Mindanao are being addressed continuously.
Cabral said that to date DSWD's emergency relief assistance to IDPs reached the tune of almost P70 million.
The P70 million, according to DSWD has been distributed among the provinces of North Cotabato, South Cotabato, Sarangani and Sultan Kudarat in Central Mindanao; Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur in Northern Mindanao; Basilan, Maguindanao and Shariff Kabunsuan in Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
Cabral said that "aside from providing immediate relief assistance, DSWD social workers also provide supplemental feeding to some 23,627 children, zero to six years old in evacuation centers in Maguindanao, Shariff Kabunsuan, Lanao del Sur, North Cotabato and Lanao del Norte."
She added that there was also supplemental feeding provided in the evacuation centers in Lanao del Norte "to some 126 pregnant and lactating mothers, while supervised neighborhood play sessions have been conducted to 326 children, six to 12 years old in the evacuation centers in Kolambugan, Munai and Tangkal."
Likewise the department has facilitated the graduation of 50 recipients of massage therapy training program and 25 from Galing Mekaniko program in partnership with the DepEd and TESDA.
Its collaborative partnership with the Department of Health also benefited 470 evacuees and aid workers to complete the sessions on stress debriefing.
More importantly, the department's tie-up with DOH has facilitated the anti-measles immunization activity for more than 11,800 children.
Cabral also said that families returning to their homes will undergo assessment "as part of the rehabilitation and early recovery phase for the IDPs."
She stressed that she had a directive to all DSWD Mindanao directors and that such assessment activity is already part of the department's standard operating procedure during civil disorganization.
The Secretary said the undertaking will be in tie-up with the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC), in cooperation with other non-government organizations (NGOs).
"We are deeply concerned about the displaced civilians, they are our first priority," Secretary Cabral pointed out.
DSWD also revealed that it has facilitated the construction of "18 bunk houses in Maguindanao: 10 units in Datu Piang, 4 units in Datu Saudi Ampatuan, 2 units in Shariff Aguak, and 2 units in Mamasapano which are now being used as temporary shelters of IDPs."
Earlier President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ordered the DSWD and other concerned national line agencies to "facilitate the needs of the victims of the armed conflict in Mindanao." (PIA SarGen) [top]