MANILA, Philippines – Agencies under the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) have been ordered to use their Gender and Development (GAD) funds for women and children displaced by the Marawi crisis.
Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr issued the order during a June 21 special meeting with agencies under the HUDCC, but the announcement through a press release was only made on Sunday, July 2.
“Acknowledging that the physical rebuilding of homes and structures will take time to ensure effective and responsive shelter interventions, it was agreed that shelter agencies will take initial and immediate steps to alleviate the plight of Marawi residents living in evacuation centers. To achieve this, the funds allocated for Gender and Development (GAD) from each agency will be mobilized to address the particular needs of women affected by the conflict,” read the statement from Evasco’s office.
Agencies under the HUDCC include the National Housing Authority, Social Housing Finance Corporation, the Pag-IBIG Fund, Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board, Home Guaranty Corporation, and the National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation.
July 2 marks the 41st day of military operations in Marawi after local terror groups tried to take control of the city. Hundreds of thousands of locals have been living either in evacuation centers in nearby cities or in the houses of relatives and friends, according to government data. (READ: ‘Safe spaces’ set up for women, children who fled Marawi)
Each government agency is required to set aside 5% of its total budget for GAD programs, according to the Magna Carta of Women.
“Cabinet Secretary Evasco instructed HUDCC key shelter agencies to find a way to reallocate up to half of their current GAD budgets and all remaining unutilized GAD funds from previous years to provide for the particular needs of women in evacuation centers. Options such as providing hygiene kits and pyschosocial support services are being considered,” Evasco’s office said.
President Rodrigo Duterte placed the entire Mindanao under martial law following the Marawi clashes, citing the Islamic State (ISIS) threat. The Maute and Abu Sayyaf terror groups earlier pledged allegiance to ISIS. (READ: Terror in Mindanao: The Mautes of Marawi) – Rappler.com
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