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PIA Press Release

ARMM supports foreign donors and humanitarian groups

Koronadal City (25 June) -- The Autonomous Regional Government (ARG) reiterated its commitment to the international donors and humanitarian groups to continue its peace initiatives that will deliver peace and to improve the well-being of the people in the region amidst conflicts in the region.

This was the message of ARMM Regional Governor Datu Zaldy Uy Ampatuan delivered by Executive Secretary Atty. Oscar Sampulna Sr. to the officials of the United Nations - Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA) during their visit at the Office of the Regional Governor here recently.

Sampulna said the Regional Governor is grateful to the donor countries and humanitarian institutions for their continuing assistance to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

He said Governor Ampatuan also directed concerned agencies in the region like the Department of Health (DOH), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to monitor all the situation of the IDPs and to identify and immediately respond to their needs.

Officials from the UN-OCHA include Agnes Asekenye-Oonyo, Section Chief for Asia and Pacific, OCHA, New York, Ann Kristin Brunborg, Pia Hussein and Sebastian Rhodes Stamps.

Ampatuan, earlier in his State of the Region Address, joined the call of the UN, the Organization of Islamic Conference and the World Religious Leaders for Government of the Philippines and the MILF to return to the negotiating table and resume talking peace for the sake of the long-suffering people.

Oonyo said their visit in the region is aimed to see for themselves the real picture of the result of the conflict which resulted to thousands of people fleeing their homes and loosing their properties.

"We want to see and know the gaps, their needs. We want to listen to everybody especially the mothers and children. We want to see how the concern agencies are responding to the situation. We come here to see how the people involved in these activities cope up with the situation," Oonyo said.

The UN-OCHA officials visited evacuation centers in some municipalities in Maguindanao during their two-day stay here.

The Executive Secretary admitted that the regional government had some difficulties in addressing the needs of the IDPs. But he added the regional government is doing all its best to provide the necessary and immediate needs of the IDPs who are still living in the evacuation centers since August of last year.

He assured the UN officials that all the assistance from the International Donors and Humanitarian groups goes directly to and for the benefit of the IDPs. He said that the regional government is continuously doing its coordination and consultation with these partners to be able to improve and strengthen the manner of delivery.

"Our work in the ground makes easier for us because you are here," Sampulna said.

Meanwhile, the same message of commitment was reiterated by Director Ramil Masukat of the Technical Management Service, Office of the Regional Governor during the visit here of the officials from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) yesterday.

IOM Regional Representative Charles Harns said they are supporting and augmenting activities of humanitarian groups working in the ground.

IOM started its operation in the region in October 2008. They are also working now in the provinces of North Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat.

Jasper Llanderal, Program Coordinator, IOM Mindanao Programmes said their agency has established the Humanitarian Response Monitoring System (HRMS) in the region January 2009. He said this system is the technical assistance of IOM to DSWD-ARMM. The HRMS will be installed at the DSWD-ARMM office as the lead agency in the humanitarian activities.

The HRMS, Lladeral said is a tracking system where all activities of all humanitarian groups involve in the cluster approach including their assistance are documented. The system includes managing of information, monitoring, validation of IDPs and the gaps to fill in.

Aside from the HRMS, IOM is now doing augmenting activities under the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Non-food items, Emergency shelter materials and Camp Coordination and Management clusters.

DSWD-ARMM reported that as of yesterday (June 23) there are still 56,685 families or 290,780 individuals living in the different evacuation centers in Maguindanao and continuous collaboration with partners and stakeholders are being undertaken to address the needs of the IDPs. (BPI-ARMM/PIA 12) [top]

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