verification process at the municipal hall in Shariff
Saydona Mustapha, before the distribution.
thousands displaced by clashes in Maguindanao
December 4, 2017
MANILA – Thousands
of displaced families in central Mindanao’s Maguindanao province
have been deprived of basic everyday necessities as intense fighting
persists in the area. To help around 11,600 people in Shariff
Saydona Mustapha municipality, the International Committee of the
Red Cross (ICRC) has provided them with half-month food and other
supplies along with household items in cooperation with the
Philippine Red Cross.
“While the attention over
the recent months has been mostly focused on the Marawi conflict,
several communities in Maguindanao have also been seriously affected
by armed clashes. We remain concerned about their plight as they
have been displaced for more than three months,” said Tomoko
Matsuzawa, head of the ICRC’s office in Cotabato.
Since early August, the
Philippine military and various armed groups have been engaged in
armed fighting in the area known as the SPMS Box (Barangay Salbu,
Datu Saudi Ampatuan – Barangay Pagatin, Datu Salibo – Mamasapano –
Shariff Aguak) in Maguindanao.
Over the past couple of
months, though majority of the displaced families have returned home
to plant rice and other crops, they’re staying close to the main
roads, ready to evacuate in case the fighting resumes. The remaining
families, coming from areas more exposed to repeated armed
encounters, have opted to stay in host communities.
“These families have
reduced the number of meals to two per day, and also limited them in
variety. It is important that as people try and restore their lives,
they receive basic support to do so,” Ms Matsuzawa said.
During the three-day
distribution completed on December 2, each family from four
barangays (villages) – who include those who have returned and those
who remained – received 25 kg of rice, one litre of soy sauce, one
litre of oil, 12 tins of 425 g of sardine each, 1 kg of sugar, ½ kg
of salt, two jerry cans of 20 litre each and hygiene items for the
The ICRC is a neutral,
impartial and independent humanitarian organization whose
exclusively humanitarian mission is to protect the lives and dignity
of victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence and to
provide them with assistance. The ICRC also endeavours to prevent
suffering by promoting and strengthening humanitarian law and
universal humanitarian principles.
2,300 families displaced by the armed clashes in
Maguindanao received food, household and hygiene items
from the ICRC last week.