Cotabato City – Over 25,000 families displaced by the Mamasapano conflict in 2015 received assistance from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) through its Humanitarian Emergency Action and Response Team (HEART).
ARMM-HEART, one of the flagship programs of regional governor Mujiv Hataman, aims at providing humanitarian assistance and development interventions to families affected by law enforcement operations launched by the military in Maguindanao after the Mamasapano incident. It also provides assistance to internally displaced persons (IDPs) affected by natural and human-induced disasters in the region.
Jo Henry, ARMM-HEART communications officer, recalled that as soon as the program office received the news on the Mamasapano incident in the morning of January 25, 2015 through local coordinators, ARMM started monitoring the condition on the ground and sent a team to respond to the situation.
Since then, ARMM-HEART has reached the 15 municipalities inside the so-called ‘SPMS box’, which include the adjoining towns of Sharrif Aguak, Pagatin (Datu Saudi), Mamasapano and Datu Salibo. These towns, which were adversely affected by the January 2015 incident, have been given humanitarian assistance as well as capacity-building trainings on disaster preparedness and response.
ARMM-HEART has conducted activities such as Rapid Disaster Needs Assessment, Hazard Incident Management, and Water Rescue Training in target areas. The number of IDPs, meanwhile, reached 96,240 who all received food and non-food items. In partnership with other organizations, the office also conducted a series of psychosocial interventions with students in some schools near conflict areas.
Last year, 30 responders from ARMM-HEART rescue team as well as from other line agencies and the focal persons from the 15 municipalities within the SPMS box underwent training courses on Disaster Response and Rescue and Basic Life Support.
“This is important, so that the local communities will be well-equipped with proper skills in times of need,” said Henry. “Mamasapano is different now, we no longer have bakwit as a result of armed conflict,” Mamasapano Mayor Benzhar Ampatuan told Henry.
Apart from medical missions, distributions of seeds and farm imports, ARMM-HEART will be holding a Mine Risk Education briefing, which will address concerns on unexploded devices in areas left by terror groups.
This activity will be part of the People’s Day in Mamasapano slated on January 25, Thursday. The mine risk briefing will spread awareness on the communities on the effects of explosives and the dangers of unexploded devices.
Meanwhile, ARMM-HEART has also provided food packs to families affected by the recent floods in Lamitan City, Basilan and in Jolo, Sulu. The IDPs of armed conflicts in Patikul and Indanan in Sulu, and Macalang, Al-Barka in Basilan also received assistance from the program. (Bureau of Public Information)
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