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PIA Press Release
2008/10/09

Military undertakes post-conflict rehab of former IDPs; US Army provides aid

ICC General Santos City (9 October) -- A post-conflict rehab activity initiated today by the Philippine Army benefited more than 500 former evacuees of barangay Nomoh, Maasim.

The activity dubbed as "Libreng Konsultasyon sa Doktor" provided free check-up and distributed medicines to 257 individuals to treat common diseases such as colds, cough and fever.

A total of 60 children and adult also benefited the dental service while 194 children were given Vitamin A supplementation and deworming tablets.

Lt. Col. Edgardo de Leon, commander, 73rd Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army based in Maasim said the post conflict rehabilitation thru medical and dental clinic was organized to assess the condition of the residents particularly those recently displaced by armed conflict.

"Amo ni gi-organize kaning libre nga gamutan diring lugara kay nakita namo nga kulang na ta sa saktong pag-alaga sa atong kalawasan," De Leon, speaking in Cebuano, told beneficiaries who were mostly Tbolis.

Barangay chieftain Luna Tabalao thanked the organizers for bringing first to his barangay the government "rehabilitation program." He said many of his brethren are really ill as a result of the recent spates of conflict in the area resulting to massive evacuation.

"Pasalamat jud ko sa gobyerno sa pagmugna aning aktibidades. Kinahanglan jud namo ang mga libreng tambal kay sa pagkakaron daghan gyud ang adunay sakit," he said.

In August, MILF rebels attacked the town hall of Maasim and attempted to take over the police station but vigilant policemen forced them back. The harassment killed two innocent civilians and wounded many others. They also looted stores in public market and displaced hundreds of civilians.

De Leon assured the residents that the government especially the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will never again tolerate armed groups to bother the residents and create havoc in the area.

The free clinic was a joint undertaking of the 1002nd Brigade, 73rd Infantry Battalion, the municipal and provincial government, Joint Task Force GenSan, Task Force Salaam, the Heart and Brain, a non-governmental organization, and the Joint Special Operations Task Force (JSOTF) 12 of the US Army.

Organizers also distributed used clothes and toys for children. De Leon said that bulk of the medicine supplies that were distributed came from the US Army.

He said he expected at least 2,000 people to benefit the activity that will have a repeat on October 15 at barangay Lumatil which will also cover the other five affected barangays.

US Army Team Leader Capt. Clay Daniels said his team of 4 came to provide aid to the villagers.

"The AFP and the mayor have come out here and they are providing aid to the people," he said stressing they were invited by the AFP to extend medical assistance to the people of barangay Nomoh.

"Pasalamat gyud ko dako sa gobyerno kay gitabangan ta pinaagi ning libreng tambal ug check up kay kung paliton kini wala gyud ta mapalit ani," said a 40 year-old housewife and mother Leonora Joaquin.

Town Mayor Aniceto Lopez Jr., explained that the activity was particularly aimed at looking at the situation of the people and as a post-conflict rehabilitation effort of the government.

"Gusto pud nato matan-aw uban sa atong mga bisita nga US Army ang kahimtang sa atong katawhan nga naapektuhan sa katong milabay nga mga problema nga nahitabo diri sa atong lungsod," the mayor articulated.

"Paningkamutan nato nga mapadayon na nato ang pag-maintain sa atong kalinaw hinaot pud makabalik na gyud ang atong mga IDPs. Hinaot ang atong unity magpabilin gihapon alang sa kalambuan sa atong lungsod ug sa atong barangay," he added saying the situation now in Maasim "is under control."

Governor Migs Dominguez, on the other hand, guaranteed the people that the government will always rally behind them to give support and ample protection from the attack of lawless MILF group (LMG).

He also expressed the hope that teamwork between cooperating agencies such as the AFP, the Philippine National Police, local governments, NGOs, community and civilians will continue to flourish not only in time of crisis but always. (PIA SarGen) [top]

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