6.12.2017

Thursday, June 8, 2017

CSWDO Iligan urgently needs more volunteers

By Fryan E. Abkilan

ILIGAN CITY/MINDANAO HOUR, June 8 (PIA) – The City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) of Iligan is in need of more people to conduct the profiling of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) from crisis-hit Marawi currently at the different evacuation centers in the city.

Mary Anne Lebria of CSWDO Iligan said that it is important that all families displaced from their homes are properly profiled and registered to ensure that they can access the assistance provided by the authorities and humanitarian agencies working in coordination with the city government.

"We need volunteers to help the profiling of the IDPs in evacuation centers and home-based. We need every hand because we have limited manpower," said Lebria. "Without volunteers, we would not be able to properly account them," added Lebria.

Meanwhile, Lebria also revealed that the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Central Office has plans to offer “Ramadan food packs” for the Muslim IDPs.

“A new set of meals will be given to our IDPs, including the ‘Ramadan food packs.’ We will just wait for the guidelines from the DSWD Central Office,” said Lebria. (FEA/PIA-Caraga)        


News Feature: Armed forces vow to defeat Maute, restore normalcy

By Venus L. Garcia

ILIGAN CITY/MINDANAO HOUR, June 8 (PIA) – As Marawi siege entered the third week of what everyone hopes will be a culmination of peril, trepidation and hunger, the shrinking number of militants gave a positive forecast of Maute’s defeat.

“The armed forces are professional, highly trained and is more than ready to finish the job in terminating the terrorism in Marawi City. We are an organization following the rule of law. Aside from the role of neutralizing, our goal is to save the civilians. That is the very challenging part because we have to take into consideration of their safety, and it causes the delay in offensive operation as Maute are using them as human shield,” said Lt. Col. Joar Herrera, spokesperson of 1st Infantry Division, Philippine Army.

He added that the military became deliberate and precise in its planning. So, the mechanism of declaring ceasefire for four hours was to allow the negotiating parties to get inside and rescue the civilians. “Our primordial concern is the safe passage of trapped civilians, thus, the peace corridor serves as a safe and secure corridor for civilians running away from the war zone. It is where the humanitarian assistance passes through as well,” he said.

According to Herrera, they are now clearing only a few portions of Marawi City. He said that many soldiers have been wounded and others have lost their lives because of the nature of the battlefield – high rise building where the Maute snipers are positioned and the density of population that allows the militants to blend with the civilians and dissemble.

“In the spirit of patriotism and genuine service to the people, the exceptional courage, competence and the ultimate sacrifices of our soldiers deserve due respect and recognition. Building confidence to our soldiers can help raise the morale. Their portrayal of heroic acts is a manifestation of their genuine service to defend our countrymen and the nation as a whole,” said Herrera.

On the other hand, Herrera said that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will not tolerate any abuses made by an erring soldier. “We are grounded with policies and standard operating procedures. As I said, do not be afraid to seek protection from them,” he said.

Herrera bared that the government agencies, local government units, and all other sectors in the region are all doing their collaborative efforts to restore normalcy and order.

“We are in the last phase of the operation. The insurgents are already contained. Right from the start, the military has facilitated the local government of Marawi. We allow its governance to function and ensure to facilitate the services while we are confronting the Maute. Convening through a crisis management committee has resulted to ‘parallelism’ translated to teamwork where involvement of each one is aimed at targeting the goal – to terminate Maute," Herrera said.

Herrera urged every member of the community to be united and be more vigilant or report a perceived threat in the locality. “There is no blaming here. The way ahead is to show a semblance of hope for the affected individuals to feel relieved and eventually find peace,” he added.

Meanwhile, Herrera pointed out the importance of open communication lines between and among the media partners and the government, thus, the creation of the Media Information Center at the Lanao del Sur Provincial Office in Marawi City.

“This is where we conduct briefings and facilitate the information needs of the media. We recognize their important role of letting the people know of what the government is doing. This way, we can translate tactical victory to strategic victory. Let’s corroborate in helping our soldiers who shed sweat and blood. Your soldiers are worthy of honor and let us not accuse them of doing anything which is beyond their scope of duty in the battlefield,” underscored Herrera. (VLG/PIA-Caraga)


News Feature: Marawi IDPs appeal financial aid from gov’t

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

ILIGAN CITY/MINDANAO HOUR, June 8 (PIA) – While they have no complaints on the provision of relief goods in the evacuation centers, the internally displaced persons (IDPs) affected by the armed conflict in Marawi City, who are currently in the designated evacuation centers here have asked the government to also provide financial assistance for every IDP-family.

In an interview with Nelson Jimenez, 42, a father of three, and a resident of Barangay Datu Saber in Marawi City shared his family's situation in the evacuation center at the School of Fisheries in Barangay Boroon, Iligan City.

“Kung sa pagkain lang, wala po kaming problema dahil binibigay po talaga sa amin ng gobyerno. Ang sa tingin naming na talagang kailangan din namin ay financial assistance upang kami ay makapagsimula ulit ng panibagong buhay at kahit papaano ay may kinikita kami sa pang-araw-araw habang kami ay pansamantalang naka-stay dito sa evacuation center. Ayaw din naming na dumidepende nalang palagi sa tulong na maibibigay ng gobyerno (In terms of food supply for the evacuees here, we are well-provided by the government. However, we also need cash assistance so we could start our own livelihood that could support our family’s needs while we are temporarily sheltered in the evacuation centers. We don’t want to keep on depending on what the government could provide us),” expressed Jimenez.

Jimenez added that the concerned government agencies like the Department of Health (DOH) provided medicines, vitamins, and other health/hygiene kits that IDPs could use when necessary.

“Nakita naman namin ang ginagawa ng gobyerno sa mga evacuees upang maka-survive dito sa evacuation centers. Kinukuha din nila sa amin kung ano yung mga concerns namin. Gusto lang talaga naming ipaabot sa gobyerno na kailangan din naming ng livelihood upang makapagsimula muli (I appreciate how the government agencies attend to our needs here and take our issues and concerns. The financial assistance is what we really need for us to start again and cope with life),” Jimenez reiterated.

Also, Norsalam Umbra, 37, married and a resident of Barangay Saduc Lilod, Marawi City shared her sentiments with teary-eyes while she was interviewed by the personnel of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Caraga at the evacuation center in Barangay Sta. Elena, Iligan City.

Umbra described how the Maute group harassed her family and forcibly get their ‘rela’ (tricycle), which her husband use for living to support the daily needs of their family. Their house and their small ‘sari-sari’ store in Marawi were ransacked and destroyed by the local terrorist group.

As an IDP, Umbra elaborated how hard it is for her family to have lost their comfort place and properties. She said she understood why they have to leave their place in Marawi while the armed conflict is still ongoing, and that is to ensure their safety. What she asked the government now is also the financial assistance and a livelihood that could help them rise again and start a new life.

"Kailangan po talaga namin ang suportang pinansyal galing sa gobyerno at maging sa ibang organisasyon na gustong tumulong (We really need financial support from the government and even from other organizations who would want to help us)," said Umbra.

These two IDPs who are in the different evacuation centers in Iligan City also hope that the armed conflict will soon put to an end, and they could go back to their respective homes with their families.

Meanwhile, Sr. Fe Socorro Salimbangon, Diocesan Caritas Coordinator of the Diocese of Iligan City who have partnered with the National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA) under the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and Catholic Relief Services for the relief distribution to more or less 2,000 IDPs in the barangays of Iligan City, has called on those interested donors who want to donate to have it thru cash instead so evacuees could also buy other needs.

“The relief goods are always available for the IDPs through the help extended from various sectors aside from the government’s relief and what we see from these IDPs are really the need to also provide them cash assistance,” highlighted Salimbangon. (JPG/PIA-Caraga)


Health official reminds donors vs milk donation for Marawi IDPs

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

ILIGAN CITY/MINDANAO HOUR, June 8 (PIA) – A health official advises the public, particularly organizations that solicit or intend to donate milk for victims of Marawi crisis of the "No Milk Donation Policy."

Dr. Charles Raiñer Marquez, municipal health officer of Maigo, Lanao del Norte, who served as a volunteer doctor at the evacuation center of Barangay Sta. Elena stressed that lactating mothers are strictly prohibited to use powdered/processed milk.

“We avoid them to use powdered or processed milk because the water that they may be using might be contaminated. Though we provide them clean water here, we still want to ensure the health and safety, especially of the vulnerable babies and children,” he underlined.

It was learned that the city government of Iligan has issued an order “No Milk Donation” Policy in the evacuation centers, and advocates for breastfeeding.

Said doctor also shared how the government addresses the needs of the evacuees in the evacuation center. “The Department of Health has prepared all the medicines that IDPs might need, along with food and hygiene kits. So from our level, we are always ready to serve them,” he said.

Marquez further underscored that medical doctors and nurses from other municipalities who also volunteered to serve the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Sta. Elena is conducting regular assessments to the evacuees’ health and giving advices to them.

“We observe protocols here. Everything is well coordinated, especially in channeling the donations. We are also calling on other organizations who would want to donate for the IDPs to consider giving foldable beds, clothing, and other things that they need aside from food supplies,” prompted Marquez.

Meanwhile, the representatives of the Mindanao Modern Nanay - a non-government organization based in Cagayan de Oro City are also visiting evacuation centers to orient women and lactating mothers on the importance and benefits of breastfeeding to them and their babies. (JPG/PIA-Caraga)


DA Sec offers loans to farmers, fisherfolks affected by Marawi crisis

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

ILIGAN CITY/MINDANAO HOUR, June 8 (PIA) – The Department of Agriculture (DA) will extend food aid and emergency loans for farmers and fisherfolks affected by the ongoing fighting in Marawi City, said Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol.

During his visit in Lanao del Norte on Thursday, Piñol said the emergency loan assistance will be provided under the DA's Survival and Recovery (SURE) loan program.

Aside from the SURE Loan Program offered by the department, the evacuees will also receive a cash grant amounting to P5,000 per family and the P20,000 can be availed for them to buy seedlings as start up capital for farming.

The good secretary uplift the confidence of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) by stressing to them that the government is doing everything to ensure that the humanitarian assistance is sustained while they are still at the evacuation centers.

“This armed conflict will soon put to an end. The government will not leave you empty-handed, and the SURE program is just one of the many programs of the government that you can avail so you can start your livelihood,” underscored Piñol.

The SURE loan program gives access to farmers to avail of an interest-free loan program. It is implemented through DA’s Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) in partnership with conduit banks, cooperatives and other financial institutions whichever is accessible to the farmers in affected areas. (JPG/PIA-Caraga)


News Feature: DA extends support to Marawi siege victims

By Venus L. Garcia

ILIGAN CITY/MINDANAO HOUR, June 8 (PIA) – Beaming faces that told a story of relief greeted Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Emmanuel Piñol and his company as they entered the Gomampong D. Ali Cultural Center designated evacuation center in Balo-i, Lanao del Norte jam-packed with evacuees who were able to withdraw from the war-stricken areas in Marawi City.

“We are here to dole out some prepared food packs to all of you whom I know are experiencing the unnecessary suffering from having been displaced. So, this is a gesture of our agency of giving support. This will not be the only batch of relief goods as more will be distributed in the coming days,” said Piñol.

A number of recipient-evacuees benefitted from the 2,391 packs of rice, 1,780 packs of canned goods, 1,000 packs of grocery items and 30,000 pieces of bottled water, and it totals to P607,054 all in all.

According to Piñol, he had already directed the five DA regional offices all over Mindanao to pool together relief items for distribution. He said that he is more than surprised to know that DA offices outside of Mindanao had even made their efforts to share and lend a help to the affected individuals from Marawi siege.

Aside from the relief packs, DA is giving them access to the Survival and Recovery (SURE) Loan Program to the affected farmers and fisherfolks.

Balo-i, Lanao del Norte mayor Madrid Elias Ali and vice mayor Mustapha Ali are thankful for the relief assistance extended in their municipality for the internally displaced persons (IDPs).

Mayor Ali said that apart from the relief operation received by the evacuees from the government, other non-government organizations are also giving support such as one cable network that put up a kiosk with wide television screen for the evacuees to hear news and updates and for children to view cartoon movies that will somehow help them recover from trauma.

The Philippine Red Cross is also set to pitch an emergency field hospital tent to cater clinical needs of the IDPs. The ‘ulamas’ as well are doing its effort to pay a daily visit to the evacuation centers to conduct worthwhile activities that would aid the survivors in recuperation, and permit them to forget the nightmare memory of those hours in the war zone.

Also, Mayor Ali is calling for more donations from benevolent individuals who are willing to extend any aid to the IDPs. “Temporary shelters were already provided to them but our concern goes more on how we can sustain their needs for food, clothing and sanitation. We are uncertain of how long they will spend days and nights in the evacuation centers, that’s why we are appealing for more donations. This is the most appropriate time to reach out and demonstrate compassion for our fellowmen,” he said.

Vice mayor Ali revealed that at the time the evacuees arrived at the evacuation centers in their area, the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council and other residents initially volunteered to share their spare and stored food to them. This is how kindness and synergy work for humanity regardless of religion, belief and origin. (VLG/PIA-Caraga)


DAR AgSur to fund P6-M worth of road concreting under Project ConVERGE

By Hazel Hope V. Bautista

VERUELA, Agusan del Sur, June 8 – The Convergence on Value Chain Enhancement for Rural Growth and Development (ConVERGE) thru the Provincial Project Coordinator Engr. Gudy Centina, has recently conducted an initial identification of the road to be concreted under the said project at Veruela, this province.

Together with Engr. Evangeline Hanginan of the regional office, Municipal Agrarian Reform Program Officer (MARPO) Vilma Romero, SB Member Rebecca Hampac and Brgy. Capt. Archie Calibayan, the approximately 5 kilometer existing road connecting the secondary national highway at Sitio Dungga, Brgy. La Fortuna, traversing the huge area of ricefield at Brgy. Magsaysay, Veruela was identified.

“Isa ka tumong sa ConVERGE kay ang pagtabang sa mga mag-uuma arun mas motaas ang estado sa ilang panginabuhian (One of the goal of ConVERGE is to help farmers in uplifting their well-being and reduce poverty incidence),” said Engr. Centina as he addressed the attendees about the goal of the project.

Centina further said that since the identified road is already an existing farm-to-market road, it is expected that the concreting project would be a lot beneficial to farmers.

“Maka-benepisyo gyud ang mga mag-uuma sa Barangay Magsaysay ug La Fortuna kung mahuman ang pagsemento sa dalan tungod kay kining duha ka barangay gikonsidera na rice granaries sa munisipyo. Kami mapasalamaton gayud sa DAR kung mahuman kini na proyekto tungod kay daku kaayo kini ug tabang sa amo nga mga gagmayng mang-uuma, kay mogamay gyud among gasto sa pagpa-hauling (Geographically, Brgy. Magsaysay and La Fortuna are considered as rice granaries of the municipality and will directly benefit should this road-concreting project be completed. We are indeed thankful to DAR for granting this to us because this is of great help to us small farmers, as this will reduce our hauling costs),” expressed Juan Talimodao, Barangay Agrarian Reform Council. (DAR-Agusan del Sur/PIA-Agusan del Sur)