Press Release
September 26, 2017

Heed humanitarian crisis in Marawi, De Lima urges gov't

Senator Leila M. de Lima has urged the Duterte administration to address the humanitarian crisis brought about by the violent conflict between the government troops and Maute terror group that displaced thousands of civilians in Marawi City.

De Lima filed Senate Resolution No. 512 urging the appropriate Senate committee to look into the government's response to the humanitarian crisis in Marawi, especially among the sick, elderly, disabled, women and children.

"While the continued pursuit of military action is important in order to neutralize the terrorists in Marawi City and, ultimately, to restore peace and order to the locality, the government must not lose sight of its duty to address the plight of the civilians adversely affected by the military operations," she said.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has estimated that there are 359,680 internally-displaced persons (IDPs) or 78,466 families housed in the evacuation centers alone in 16 municipalities across Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur.

In its report last Aug. 22, UNHCR noted how the basic humanitarian assistance received by both home-based and evacuation center-based IDPs has been reduced since Task Force Bangon Marawi took over the government's humanitarian response.

UNHCR also noted the increasing number of host families of IDPs who are asking for humanitarian support due to the depletion of resources and the impact of protracted armed confrontation in Marawi City.

The protracted armed conflict, UNHCR pointed out, has caused severe food shortage and constriction of economic activity even in nearby municipalities causing residents to be displaced and relocated.

The Senator from Bicol also cited that persons with special needs (PWSN), such as pregnant and lactating mothers, elderly persons, children with special needs, persons with disabilities are not being provided with decent living conditions.

Some of them are sleeping on cartons or plastic sheets, making these PWSN more vulnerable to health risks, she noted.

De Lima said the Senate needs to look into how efforts of concerned government agencies as well as from private and foreign donors are being applied to rehabilitate abd rebuild the lives and property of these IDP families.

"There is need to investigate the actual living conditions of the IDPs, whether home-based or evacuation center-based, and to make sure that they are not being neglected, in spite of any political developments in our country," she said.

De Lima said the government's humanitarian response should heed not only the physical and psychological requirements but also the spiritual and cultural needs of those IDPs to ensure that they can successfully reintegrate into the society.

"It is in how we treat our fellow Filipinos who cannot help or protect themselves can we prove our patriotism and establish the true path to lasting peace," she said.

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