Last week, IOM Cotabato together with the telecommunications company Globe Telecom distributed non-food items (NFIs) such as blankets to displaced families that are temporarily taking shelter in three evacuation centres in the town of Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao. This distribution benefited 236 families, including 39 families in Kabinge, 89 families in the Moadz compound and 108 families in the Kitango Madrasah evacuation centre. The activity was supported by the Datu Saudi Ampatuan Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office.
The tension and hostilities in Central Mindanao between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) with the Philippine National Police (PNP) Special Action Force (SAF) has displaced approximately 125, 302 persons. Firefights started on January 25th, killing 44 Police officers from the PNP-SAF during an 11-hour firefight with these armed groups in Barangay Tukanalipao in the town of Mamasapano, Maguindanao. Then weeks later, on February 13th, a firefight between these groups happened again in the Barangays Buliok and Kalbugan, Pagalungan, Maguindanao Province. This conflict affected thousands of civilians from the villages of Buliok, Kalbugan and Bagoinged, Pagalungan, Maguindanao, who are now internally displaced persons that were forced to flee their homes in order to avoid being caught in a cross fire.
IOM continues to provide assistance to vulnerable and affected families by providing emergency shelter kits and additional NFIs. Looking for creative avenues to connect the IDPs and their families locally and overseas, Globe, in partnership with IOM is also planning to install free-call phone booths in selected evacuation centres.
For more information about IOM’s strategies and activities in Mindanao, please go to: http://www.iom.int/files/live/sites/iom/files/Country/docs/IOM_Philippines_CRIB2014.pdf