COTABATO CITY: Humanitarian teams from Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and the province of Maguindanao have sent relief assistance in separate teams that would also assess the actual number and plight of evacuees.
The teams also held daily medical and relief missions in the contiguous towns of Shariff Saidona, Mamasapano, Rahaj Buayan and Datu Piang, all in Maguindanao to thousands of villagers displaced by the clashes between government troops and the brigand Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).
ARMM, through the joint humanitarian mission of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao- Humanitarian Emergency Action and Response Team (ARMM-HEART) and the Army’s 6th Infantry Division (ID) served at least 758 families or 3790 individuals on Thursday, said Laisa Alamia, ARMM executive secretary.
The relief mission was conducted in the evacuation center at the village of Macasendeg in Midsayap town of North Cotabato where residents of Dasawao of Shariff Saydona, Maguindanao during the Army’s surgical operation against BIFF.
Alamia said the team has distributed goods, provided medical assistance and even free haircut service.
Maguindanao, which opened the Sagayan Festival last Feb. 1, toned down its five-day celebration in favor of humanitarianism.
Lynette Estandarte, one of focal persons in the Sagayan Festival, said she personally led the relief mission under instruction of Governor Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu.
She said the governor wanted that every penny in the relief operations goes directly to real evacuee.
Since February 3, the province’s 36 municipal governments have installed trade fair booths along Buluan’s main highway displaying their respective native products and traditional wares.
Event main coordinator Raquel Magalona said the Festival’s highlights would resume on Feb. 10, lasting for five days and would be a grand showcase of the potentials of Maguindanao with expected guests from regional, national and possibly foreign dignitaries.
The first event that was toned down by Gov. Mangudadatu was the Maguindanao’s 40th founding anniversary celebration last November where the governor personally led the relief missions to storm Yolanda victims in Leyte and Samar.