MANILA, Philippines – Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announced that Australia is donating P34.95 million (AUD 920,000) in food and other supplies for more than 320,000 people displaced by ongoing clashes in Marawi City.
In a statement on Tuesday, June 20, Bishop said the Australian government “is committed to supporting the peace process and development in Mindanao, which are critical for a strong and stable Philippines.”
“The Australian government continues to work with the Philippine government to combat terrorism in our region,” Bishop added.
Australia is extending this aid as the clashes between government troops and terrorists in Marawi City have raged for almost a month. Aside from forcing more than 300,000 people out of their homes, the Marawi clashes have killed at least 329 people.
Bishop said Australia’s aid includes the following:
- “tarpaulins, sleeping mats, mosquito nets, and water and sanitation kits through the Philippine Red Cross to assist 1,000 displaced families”
- “over 500 tons of pre-positioned rice through the World Food Program, which will help feed 60,000 children over the next 3 months”
- “hygiene items, torches, and whistles for protection, sanitary supplies and clothes, and clean birthing kits through the United Nations Population Fund, to assist over 6,400 women and girls”
Bishop said that this assistance “is in addition to the package of support for the peace process and education in Mindanao,” which she announced when she visited Manila in March.
This form of support comes as the Duterte administration shows it is wary of foreign aid, especially those seen to have “conditions” attached.
Bishop met with Duterte in March, and conveyed the concerns of Australia and the international community “with respect to extrajudicial killings” in the Philippines. She also “spoke of the importance” that Australia attaches “to human rights and the rule of law.” – Rappler.com
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