Around 2,700 people, who have fled their homes in Surigao del Sur after a series of violent incidents, have received humanitarian aid from various organizations.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) provided relief items on September 8 to displaced families, mostly from Lianga and San Miguel municipalities.
The ICRC and the PRC distributed household items, such as jerrycans, blankets and sleeping mats, and hygiene kits. The PRC has also set up a soup kitchen that serves hot meals to evacuees once a day.
“We abandoned our home out of fear,” said 39-year-old Lita Tejero, a mother of eight, from San Agustin town.
“Life at the evacuation center is hard. We rely on aid. The unpredictable weather is also a concern,” she added.
Another group, this time composed of about 100 lawyers, paralegals, and law students, have volunteered to offer their services to the bereaved families of the alleged massacre victims in the filing of the cases against the suspected perpetrators.
“As the peoples’ lawyers, the UPLM will surely take all those believed responsible for these dastardly acts to court, including before international human rights bodies and the international community,” said Beverly S. Musni, Union of Peoples’ Lawyers in Mindanao (UPLM) Secretary General.
The latest of these incidents involved the killing of three people who belonged to the tribal communities in Lianga, Surigao Del Sur by alleged paramilitary units.
The Commission on Human Rights in Northern Mindanao would also conduct a probe on the reported massacre of five family members, including a 72-year-old blind man in the mountains of Pangantucan, Bukidnon last August 18, 2015.
“Armed violence often results in the displacement of civilians, including women and children. Away from their homes, they must subsist in fear and uncertainty. We hope that normality will soon return to the areas allowing the displaced families to go back to their homes,” said Timothy Yates, head of the ICRC sub-delegation in Mindanao.