The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) continues to augment the resources of the local government unit (LGU) of Basilan for the 1,729 families or 6,218 persons from the municipalities of Sumisip, Tuburan, Hadji Mohammad Ajul, and Akbar who were displaced by the military operations against the Abu Sayaf in the area.
These families continue to take temporary shelter in their friends' and relatives' houses pending declaration from authorities on the safety of their villages.
To date, DSWD-Field Office IX, the nearest regional office to the conflict area, has dispatched a total of 8,500 family food packs to Basilan. In early August, some 6,000 food packs were provided while another 2,500 packs were extended on September 21. The total amount of DSWD resource augmentation to Basilan is P3,060,000.
In a related development, the Basilan Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office reported that an unidentified number of displaced families from the towns of Albarka, Tipo-tipo and Ungkaya Pukan began returning to their homes as a result of the activity conducted by the Provincial Government and other agencies dubbed as "People's Day" last September 18.
The PLGU encouraged the IDPs to return to their respective places of origin and also distributed food packs to some 1,400 families and conducted feeding program for children.
As of this reporting, the Social Welfare and Development (SWAD) Team Leader in Isabela City reported that there have been no military clash/incidents reported for the past weeks within the Tipo-tipo area.
Meanwhile, in Sulu, where another military operations was launched, some 4,661 families or 24,343 persons from 46 barangays in Patikul, Maimbung, Indanan, Parang and Panamao also continue to receive relief assistance.
DSWD-FO IX also initially provided 5,000 food packs worth P1.8 million as augmentation support to the Province of Sulu.
"Kami po sa DSWD ay patuloy na nakikipagcoordinate sa mga lokal na pamahalaan upang mabigyan ng agarang tulong ang mga kababayan nating naiipit sa kaguluhan sa Sulu at Basilan at hindi pa nga nakakabalik sa kanilang mga lugar (We at DSWD continue to coordinate with concerned LGUs so we can provide immediate help to our countrymen who have not returned to their places of origin)," DSWD Secretary Judy M. Taguiwalo stated.
"Malayo pa ang ating lalakbayin tungo sa kapayapaan sapagkat ang tunay na kalaban natin dito ay ang kahirapan na nagmumula sa kawalan ng lupa ng magsasaka at kawalan ng pambansang industriyalisasyon na maglilingkod sa interes ng mga manggagawa at buong sambayanan (We still have a long way to go to attain peace since our real enemy is the poverty caused by landlessness of the farmers and the absence of national industrialization that will serve the needs of the workers and of the entire people)," Sec. Taguiwalo emphasized.
Source: Philippine Information Agency