ILO monitoring Zamboanga crisis-A A +A
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
EVEN the International Labor Organization (ILO) is closely monitoring the developments in the Zamboanga City crisis.
ILO – Philippines Director Lawrence Jeff Johnson, in an interview, said all concerned agencies of the United Nations (UN) are keeping a close eye on when will the stand-off between the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and government forces end.
"We have to know if it's going to be long-term and what could be the economic impact," he said.
He said this is because any armed conflict would almost always result in having negative economic impact that could lead to job losses.
"We know for a fact that that is what happens. So we need to make sure that they are provided social protection so we could avoid the trap that could lead them to that direction," said Johnson.
A more cause of concern, the ILO official added, is that having numerous job losses could force families to have their children engage in child labor.
"Disaster armed conflicts like in Zamboanga can push children to hazardous forms of child labor," said Johnson.
The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) meanwhile is standing firm on its mandate to help civilians as well as wounded combatants from either the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) or government forces.
In a statement, PRC chairman Richard Gordon said they are hoping that there will not be a repeat of the incident, wherein 11 of their staff members and personnel got injured.
"We appeal to all combatants to follow the principles of the International Humanitarian Law, which says that civilians and humanitarian workers must not be harmed," said Gordon.
He said there is no reason to harm Red Cross personnel since they are working under the principles of neutrality and impartiality.
"We do not take sides. We give assistance to all the wounded from both sides," he said.
Last Friday, 11 of their staff members got injured after being hit by an explosion outside the hospital near one of the barangays, where the MNLF forces were suspected to be holed up.
Neil Nocon, PRC Assistant secretary general, said almost all of their injured members have already been able to recover.
"Merong tatlong naiwan sa ospital and hopefully lalabas na sila," said Nocon.
As for those in evacuation centers, Nocon said they are currently monitoring common illnesses among evacuees such as cough, fever, and colds.
However, he said there remains to be no sign of an emerging outbreak of any disease.
Based on data of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, there are a total of 13,028 families or 67,845 people currently staying in 24 evacuation centers. (HDT/Sunnex)