COTABATO CITY—Villagers affected by armed clashes in Maguindanao have received aid from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in the form of cash grants toward year-end last week.
About 16,000 people have benefitted from the ICRC multipurpose cash grants program amounting to P 12,000 to each of 3,200 families in four barangays in Datu Salibo, and five barangays in Shariff Saydona Mustapha between December 10 and 17, 2020,
ICRC field workers in Maguindanao said distribution of multipurpose cash grants to families affected by conflict in the two municipalities had been supported by the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), ICRC’s primary humanitarian partner in the country.
“We conducted a needs-assessment before the distribution to better understand the affected families’ situation and their priorities. The grant will help cover their immediate needs and livelihood-related expenses,” said Yannis Khemiri, head of the ICRC subdelegation in Cotabato.
The beneficiary families have been locked into hostilities of armed clashes between government forces and a non-state armed group since July 2020.
The recurring clashes limit the community members’ access to farmlands and fishing on inland waters. Perennial flooding and movement restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic have further deteriorated their economic situation.
From October to November, the ICRC had also distributed conditional cash gifts of P 8,000 to nearly 6,000 people (or 1,193 families) in Barangay Tasiman, Lake Sebu, South Cotabato.
A package for a half-month food ration consisting of 25kg rice, two liters of oil, one liter of soy sauce, one kg sugar, 500g salt and 12 cans of sardines, was provided to 3,500 people (or 700 families) in Datu Hoffer and Ampatuan, Maguindanao.
The distribution done in batches, to avoid overcrowding, required recipients to wear masks and were also provided with alcohol disinfectant.
The ICRC is a neutral, impartial and independent humanitarian organization whose exclusively humanitarian mission is to protect the lives and dignity of victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence and to provide them with assistance, regardless of their political affiliation. It has a mandate to promote knowledge and respect of the International Humanitarian Law (IHL), the law on armed conflict.
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