Evacuees need support, want to go home-A A +A
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
VILLAGERS who fled their homes due to the ongoing conflict in a remote village in Lagonglong town, Misamis Oriental need support to address their economic and psychological conditions, a nongovernment organization officer said.
Community Based Health Services–Northern Mindanao Region (CBHS–NMR) officer John Ryan Mendoza said that most of the evacuees who are traumatized are in need of psychosocial intervention.
“Especially ang mga bata, traumatized gyud sila (Especially the children, they were traumatized). It has been their first time to experience the massive military offensives,” said Mendoza.
The lumads (natives) were displaced because of the clashes between the New People’s Army (NPA) rebels and the military that took place just kilometers away from their community.
“Dapat pud trabahoon para ma-improve ilang sanitary conditions kay mostly sa mga bata nagkalibanga (The sanitary conditions of the evacuation center should be improved because most of the children are having diarrhea),” said Mendoza.
Mendoza added that during their medical mission they were able to check 62 patients who are sick.
He said the more than a dozen children who are having diarrhea are mostly below two years old.
Mendoza said the food and sanitation of the area should be taken care of so their illnesses won’t aggravate and infect the other displaced lumads.
“We are documenting the mental and physical conditions of the evacuees with the aid of other groups like Kalumbay Regional Lumad Organization who took care of Indigenous People’s Human Rights (IPHR),” Mendoza added.
Eugene Jomoc, officer-in-charge of the Lagonglong Municipal Social Welfare and Development (MSWD), told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro that they already have distributed 27 sacks of rice to the evacuees.
“Aside sa bugas gahatag pud mi og noodles ug tinapa ug uban pang pagkaon sa mga evacuees (Aside from rice we have been giving noodles and canned sardines and other food to the evacuees),” said Jomoc.
She said the MSWD is also providing vitamins and medicines to around 444 individuals or 73 displaced families.
“We are ready to support them for a month, as estimated by mayor (Manuel Pamisa Jr.),” she said.
Jomoc said their office is doing this so that the displaced families would not feel neglected by the local government unit.
Rural Health Midwife Placement Program–Department of Health (RHMPP-DOH) representative Cristela Montecillo said the villagers looked stressful on the day they arrived in the evacuation center.
“Stressful na sila tan-awon pag-abot, pero karon okay na kaayo sila (When they came, they appeared stressed, but at present they are doing well),” said Montecillo.
She said they are constantly monitoring the health of the evacuees and they are also conducting information drives about sanitation like the proper usage of lavatories and proper personal hygiene.
‘Want to go home’
Jonas Romania, a resident of Sitio Kamansi in Barangay Banglay, said he wants to go home amid the support they received from NGOs and the local government unit.
He said they evacuated from their village because of the fear that they might get caught in the crossfire.
“Mas maayo nga makabalik nami diretso sa among balay (It would be better if we can go back to our homes),” Romania said.
Another resident from Kamansi named Sabas dela Torre said he brought nothing when they fled from the community.
“Wala mi kadala og mga sanina (We did not bring our clothes),” he said explaining how they left their homes in haste on October 1.
Dela Torre said he wants to check if his livestock is okay because no one from the evacuees visited their village to check.
“Nabilin akong kabayo og kanding og mga sinako nga mais og humay (I left my horse, the goats and sacks of rice and corn grains),” said Dela Torre.
Romania added they would only go back home when the conflict between the NPA and the military would end.
“Mas maayo mamahuman na aron makabalik nami (It is better if the conflict would end so we can go back to our village),” said Romania.
This reporter tried to reach Captain Christian Uy, spokesperson of the Philippine Army’s 4th Infantry Division, Monday afternoon through his mobile phone to get the military’s possible actions on the displacement but failed.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on October 08, 2013.