Cotabato City (August 12, 2018) – The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) is providing assistance to over 2,000 individuals displaced by the intensified operation of government soldiers against lawless elements in Basilan province.
Jo Henry, communications officer of the ARMM – Humanitarian Emergency Action Response Team (HEART), said regional officials led by ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman visited the affected communities to distribute relief goods and food packs to displaced families.
The operation against lawless elements in Basilan started immediately after a bomb-laden van driven by a suspected militant went off in a powerful blast on July 31 killing 11 people. Financial assistance and relief goods from the regional government were given to the victims of the explosion.
Nurin Salih, municipal social welfare officer, said 705 families from different villages including Tuburan Proper, Languyan, Langgung and Buton were affected by the military operation. “A total of 2,181 individuals fled their homes for fear of being hurt during firefight,” said Salih.
Jamar Jamiri, Tuburan Proper Barangay Captain, said 385 families in his village have been stranded at their homes since the operation started and are in danger of being caught in the middle of crossfire.
“Nahihirapan po yung mga pamilyang apektado ng operation dahil simula nung umpisa, hindi na nakalabas yung mga kababayan natin dito sa Tuburan Proper,” he said. Livelihood was affected as well, said the village chief.
“Nahinto ang kanilang kabuhayan: yung iba hindi na makapunta sa bukid habang ang iba hindi na makapangisda,” he said. Jamiri is among the thousands of individuals affected by the military operation.
Task Force Basilan Commander Col. Fernando Reyeg, however, assured displaced residents of their safety and that they could now return home.
Governor Hataman earlier condemned the senseless attack and vowed to exert every effort to help the families affected by the incident. “We will strengthen efforts to secure our region without compromising the rights of the Bangsamoro,” he said.
Last April, the regional government launched a reintegration program dubbed Program Against Violent Extremism (PAVE) aimed at solving the issue of the growing number of terrorist groups in the region.
Divided into three pillars namely good governance, effective law enforcement, and community participation, PAVE is the first of its kind in the history of ARMM and is the regional government’s response to prevent rebel returnees from going back to lawless activities through the provision of opportunities to start anew.
SOURCE: (Bureau of Public Information)
August 12, 2018 @ 12:19