ARMM relief mission underway

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KIDAPAWAN CITY: Humanitarian volunteers from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur were set to arrive on Friday in Tacloban City, Leyte, to deliver relief goods and provide medical assistance to victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda.

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The tripartite medical and relief mission, formed under the ARMM’s Humanitarian Emergency Action and Response Team (Heart), would hopefully offset instances of disorganized and slow dispensation of relief goods and services, Regional Executive Secretary Laisa Alamia said, referring to international media reports of alleged government inept attention to storm-flattened villages in the Visayas.

Gov. Mujiv Hataman of ARMM coordinated with Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu of Maguindanao and Gov. Mamintal Adiong Jr. of Lanao del Sur in organizing the joint mission. The officials are known loyal allies of President Aquino 3rd, whose administration has been criticized by foreign media personalities for alleged weak response to the miseries of typhoon victims.

Mangudadatu said he would accompany some 100 volunteers including nine doctors and 30 nurses from his province, and supervise the operations of the four mobile hospitals, which were purchased earlier by his office for emergency treatment of ailing villagers and some remote areas.

Maguindanao was supposed to commence its weeklong celebration of its 40th founding anniversary on Friday. But he chose to organize the humanitarian mission to sympathize with the victims of the typhoon in Samar and Leyte.

“This is more important . . .” he said, referring to the humanitarian mission.

Hataman also instructed provincial officials to tone down the celebration of the ARMM’s 24th founding anniversary and cut commemorative cost to muster relief items for distribution to the typhoon victims.

The tripartite relief mission has pooled medical supplies, foodstuffs and other basic household needs worth “several millions of pesos,” organizers said.

The Maguindanao provincial government alone contributed “tons of rice and fresh fish” besides packages of medicines, kitchen utensils, sleeping mats, blankets and mosquito nets, provincial budget officer Lynette Estandarte said.

Meanwhile, Gov. Lala Taliño-Mendoza of North Cotabato said her province will also ship food stuffs and other relief items to typhoon victims in Region 8 on Sunday. Several public and private entities have responded to her call for donations now stored at the capitol complex.

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