8,600 in evacuation centers due to clashes in North Cotabato

Jee Y. Geronimo
8,600 in evacuation centers due to clashes in North Cotabato
The social welfare department has provided food packs worth P265,370 to thousands of families in 8 evacuation centers
MANILA, Philippines – Most of the families affected by clashes between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in North Cotabato have fled to 8 evacuation centers, according to the social welfare department.

As of Wednesday, February 25, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) reported 1,820 families or 9,100 persons being affected by the clashes that broke out reportedly because of rido or clan wars between commanders.

Of this number, 1,733 families or 8,665 persons are in 8 evacuation centers. 

This is lower than figures earlier cited by Armed Forces chief General Gregorio Catapang Jr as he ordered the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) to “conduct all-out offensive operations” against the BIFF.

The order took effect Wednesday. (READ: AFP orders all-out war vs BIFF)

DSWD Assistant Secretary and spokesperson Javier Jimenez said in a press conference Friday, February 27, that other families may have sought temporary shelters elsewhere, or with relatives and friends.

The department and the local government unit (LGU) have both provided family food packs worth P265,370 ($6,019.32)* and P175,000 ($3,969.4), respectively. About 45,000 family food packs from DSWD’s Region XII office are also ready for distribution.

“Patuloy yung pag-provide ng DSWD ng family food packs at tumutulong [kami] doon sa management ng evacuation centers na [pinamamahalaan] ng LGU,” Jimenez added.

(DSWD continues to provide family food packs, and we also help in the LGU’s management of evacuation centers.)

The BIFF has presence in the boundaries of Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat, and North Cotabato. It is the breakaway group of the MILF, which is engaged in peace talks with the government.

In the execution of the AFP order, Catapang reminded unit commanders to properly coordinate operations “within the framework of the ceasefire mechanisms.” – Rappler.com

*1 US$ = 44.09

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Jee Y. Geronimo

Jee is part of Rappler's Central Desk, handling most of the world, science, and environment stories on the site. She enjoys listening to podcasts and K-pop, watching Asian dramas, and running long distances. She hopes to visit Israel someday to retrace the steps of her Savior.