DSWD to Marawi residents: 'Don't panic, organize yourselves'
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) called on displaced residents of crisis-hit Marawi City not to panic, even as the entire Mindanao is under martial law.
In an interview with Rappler on Wednesday, May 24, DSWD Undersecretary for Operations and Protective Services Hope Hervilla also reminded those affected by the conflict that they must heed authorities' warnings. (READ: TIMELINE: Marawi clashes prompt martial law in all of Mindanao)
"Punta sila sa mga nakaupo nating local government officials at sa ating mga DSWD focal persons natin, sa bayan-bayan, at humingi ng tamang instructions," she said. (They can go to local government officials and to DSWD focal persons in towns and ask for the right instructions.)
"Huwag mag-panic. Kailangan nilang organisahin ang kanilang sarili at magkaroon ng leader nila na tunay na tutulong sa kanila," she added. (Don't panic. They have to organize themselves and have a leader that will really help them.)
The DSWD is ready to provide relief assistance to the people of Marawi. Regional offices are now open 24/7 to address the needs of the affected residents, said Hervilla. (READ: DSWD regional offices on call 24/7 for Marawi City evacuees)
Photos of residents leaving the area have been posted on DSWD Secretary Judy Taguiwalo's official Facebook page.
According to DSWD Region X Director Nestor Ramos, more than 30,000 families live in Marawi City. Three evacuation centers are now in place in neighboring Iligan City.
Interested groups and individuals who want to send donations for the residents of Marawi City are encouraged to do so.
Several hours after clashes erupted on Tuesday, May 23, various groups had already started calling for donations and volunteers to assist in relief operations. (READ: Groups call for donations for crisis-hit Marawi)
Hervilla said donations can be coursed through local government units, the DSWD regional office, and non-governmental organizations.
According to Ramos, the government has prepositioned 1,000 bags of rice, 2,000 pieces of malong, 2,400 food packs, kitchen kits, and mosquito nets, ready to be sent to evacuation centers.
The DSWD has P1.2 billion worth of relief goods and standby funds for those affected by the clashes. Around 10,000 family packs have also been delivered to Mindanao upon request of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) regional office. – Rappler.com