DSWD prepares assistance for families affected by military aerial bombing operations in Compostela Valley

QUEZON CITY- The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is preparing provisions for Filipinos affected by military operations against the New People's Army (NPA) in Compostela Valley. According to reports from civil society organizations Exodus for Justice and Peace (EJP) and Hugpong sa mga Mag-uuma sa Mabini Compostela Valley (HUMABIN), various residents and peasant organizations in the communities have been appealing for assistance because their communities were aerial bombed.

According to reports, around 4:00 pm of March 11, 2017, members of the 46th and 72nd Infantry Battalion (IBPA) and the 1001st Brigade conducted intensive military operations in Mabini Town and engaged in a firefight with the NPA. Government troops were monitored to have dropped bombs on peasant communities within the area of the military operations, namely: the villages of Del Pilar, Cabuyuan, Panggibiran, Libudon and Cadunanang, all in Mabini town.

Reports also showed that more than 5,000 families have been displaced because of the bombing operations.

On February 26, the military dropped 14 bombs on Brgy. Segayen, Asuncion, Davao del Norte. Six bombs were also dropped on February 11 on Barangay Datal Anggas in Alabel, Sarangani; 100 Lumad families were forced to evacuate. In the meantime, 1,000 families evacuated after the military shelled barangays Macopa, Kibagyo, and Bullucan in Laak, Compostela Valley. Bombs were also dropped in Manay and Lupon, Davao Oriental, on February 1 and 14, respectively.

DSWD Sec. Judy M. Taguiwalo said that she has instructed DSWD Field Office XI to be on standby and be prepared to provide immediate assistance to individuals and families who have been forced to evacuate for their safety. She said that the evacuees will need food, medicine, and clothes as they most likely were unable to bring any with them when they fled their communities.

Already we have received reports that some 75 families from two villages of Magpalusong and Patawon in Mabini are now staying in Tabuyuan Elementary School. Humanitarian and church-based organizations have already set up a call for relief assistance for the affected families. The DSWD will also do its part to assist the families, most especially their most vulnerable members � namely children, elderly, and pregnant women. We hope that there will be a let-up in the military operations so humanitarian groups can safely bring in the relief assistance. The safety and security of the affected civilians are also of paramount importance, she said.

Source: Philippines Information Agency

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