Saturday, September 15, 2007

Extending a hand in peace

THE peaceful quiet of barangay Bagoinged in Pikit, Cotabato was broken with the arrival of vehicles loaded with medical supplies, medical staff and local government officials arrived to hold a one day medical mission on May 19.
Hundreds of residents trooped to the barangay hall where a medical team waited to serve their medical needs like eye check-up," dental services, operation "tuli" and other services for free. The medical outreach was made possible in coordination with Pikit Municipal Health Office, Cruzada Medical hospital, Midsayap Community Hospital, local government unit, non-government organizations, and Handicap International
Meanwhile, an hour and a half ride onboard a chopper took us to barangay Liangga in Surigao del Sur for another relief operation and medical outreach program on May 24.
More than 300 family-evacuees affected by the armed hostilities benefited from a relief assistance extended by the GOP-UNDP-EC Programme on Rehabilitating Internally Displaced Persons and Communities in Southern Philippines (IDP programme).
The programme, in collaboration with the local government units conducted medical assistance and distributed food packages containing rice, sardines, noodles, milk, dried fish and others.
Recipients of the relief aid were from some of the barangays of San Miguel, Marihatag, San Agustin and Liangga who were earlier displaced by a series of hostility outbreaks between government soldiers and the rebel troops in the area.
Sec. Jesus G. Dureza, Chair of Mindanao Economic Development Council (Medco) and national programme director of GOP-UNDP-EC IDP Programme, said that complementary measures are being done to speed up rehabilitation efforts in affected communities in other areas.
He said the IDP is one of the high-impact strategies in conflict-affected communities, boosting the efforts of the national government in reducing the level of conflicts in some areas in Mindanao through continued peace-building and peacekeeping measures.
"The assistance we give you is just to meet your immediate needs. What we need is for you to attain peace, to be able to work in your fields and live in your houses without fear," Dureza said.
GOP-UNDP-EC IDP Programme is implemented by the Arroyo government through the Mindanao Economic Development Council (Medco) and United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to facilitate rehabilitation and resettlement of at least 10,000 displaced families in Southern Philippines with P203 million funding assistance from European Commission.
The programme carries out assistance pinned on three major components such as relief assistance and confidence-building, rehabilitation and culture of peace and access to justice.

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