Maguindanao in state of calamity; 41,000 evacuees
MANILA, Philippines – The province of Maguindanao was placed under a state of calamity on Tuesday, March 3, as residents displaced from their homes soared to more than 41,000 due to the ongoing armed conflict in the area.
At least 8,236 families or 41,180 individuals were forced to flee their homes as of Monday evening, March 2, according to figures from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao humanitarian emergency action response team (HEART).
A state of calamity was declared in Maguindanao on Tuesday afternoon, ANC reported. Placing a local government unit under a state of calamity enables it to gain access to calamity funds.
Thousands of families were forced to evacuate as a result of the army offensive against the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in parts of Maguindanao and North Cotabato. The BIFF is a breakaway group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which signed a peace agreement with the government.
Armed Forces chief General Gregorio Catapang Jr's order to conduct an all-out war against the BIFF came in the aftermath of the Mamasapano clash that killed 44 elite cops, 18 MILF rebels and 3 civilians, as well as fresh clashes between the MILF and the BIFF in North Cotabato, reportedly due to rido or clan wars. (READ: Bomb factory captured in Mamasapano - military)
Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Governor Mujiv Hataman convened the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council on Tuesday as the regional government launched massive relief efforts.
A total of 4,323 families or 21,615 individuals received assistance from the ARMM on Tuesday. A total of 7,208 families have been served by the regional government since February 28, figures from the ARMM-HEART said.
As of Tuesday, the Department of Social Welfare, meanwhile, said it has provided the following assistance to evacuees:
- P4.85 million worth of food packs and other items to 2,090 families or 10.450 invididuals in Datu Salibo, Maguindanao
- P679,010 worth of food packs to 1,820 families or 9,200 individuals displaced in Pagalungan, Maguindanao. Of the number, 1733 families or 8,665 individuals are staying in 8 evacuation centers set up by the local government
- P1.3 million worth of family food packs and malong to at least 3,169 families or 15,845 individuals staying in 13 evacuation centers in Pikit, North Cotabato