ARMM sets up relief operation center in Malabang, Lanao del Sur
Cotabato City (June 1, 2017) – The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) has set up a relief operation center in the town of Malabang, Lanao del Sur to coordinate and manage its humanitarian response to the ongoing crisis in Marawi City.
The regional government continues to provide humanitarian aid to the thousands of displaced families. As of Wednesday, the regional government has already served around 134,420 internally displaced persons (IDPs), who are either home-based or in designated evacuation centers.
The Malabang relief operation center, which is headed by the ARMM’s Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), will facilitate the management and coordination of the resources and efforts gathered by the regional government in response to the crisis.
ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman said it is tasked to provide “an effective, integrated and collective response to the immediate needs of displaced families.”
The ARMM Humanitarian Emergency Action and Response Team has recorded a total of 218,665 IDPs as of May 31. The number of individuals trapped in Marawi City is at 3,023.
The fighting has also affected 92 public schools and 90 private schools.
Pombaen Kader, DSWD-ARMM assistant secretary, said they “are mandated to provide an immediate humanitarian response in times of crisis or emergencies such as this.”
She said the “operation and coordinating center” established in Malabang will help the region optimize its relief assistance to the affected residents.
“It will serve as the hub of information and the mobilization of our resources,” she said.
Aslimah Sampaco, 43, resident of the municipality of Marantao, shared how she and her family escaped during the crisis.
She was in Iligan City on the day that the fighting between the terrorists and government forces started. Aslimah knew that it was no longer safe for her to go back to Marantao because she had to pass through Marawi City. But she had to make that perilous journey.
“Noong marinig ko ang balita na yun, kahit alam kong delikado at mahirap pumunta ng Marantao dahil sa mga terorista na yan, hindi ako nagdalawang isip na bumalik ng Marantao dahil andoon ang asawa’t anak ko. Hindi pwedeng wala ako sa tabi nila (When I heard the news, even if I knew that it was dangerous and hard to go to Marantao because of those terrorists, I didn’t have second thought of going back to Marantao because of my husband and children. I have to be by their side.),” Aslimah said.
After enduring the aerial bombings and being holed up inside their house for almost a week, Aslimah and her family finally made it out of Marantao on May 27. They’re now among the 27 displaced families currently staying at the Purakan Elementary School evacuation center in the town of Balabagan, Lanao del Sur.
The families have already received food packs, hygiene kits and medical assistance from the ARMM government.
Kader said they will continue to provide necessary assistance to displaced families until the situation in Marawi City and other affected areas will normalize. (Bureau of Public Information)