DOH, NFA extend support to refugees-A A +A
By Bong Garcia
Friday, March 15, 2013
THE Department of Health (DOH) and the National Food Authority (NFA) are extending assistance to the Provincial Government of Tawi-Tawi province amid the arrival of refugees from Sabah, Malaysia in the province.
The DOH, through its regional office, extended some P300,000 worth of medical assistance for the refugees, while the NFA provincial office is sending 500 sacks of rice weekly to avert the possible food shortage in Tawi-Tawi.
Dr. Teogenes Baluma, DOH Zamboanga Peninsula director, said the assistance is in response to the request for support of medicines and vitamins by the DOH in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Armm).
Baluma said P120,000 of the P300,000 worth of medical assistance will be shipped by his office on the next boat that would depart from Zamboanga City for Bongao, Tawi-Tawi.
The Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) in Tawi-Tawi is running low on medicines and vitamins supply to cater to the needs of the thousands of refugees arriving in batches in the province.
Baluma said they shipped on Wednesday some P50,000 worth of medicines for the refugees who are now in the municipality of Siasi, Sulu.
NFA Provincial Manager Gaudencio Nuega said the shipment of rice by his office is in response to the recommendation of the Crisis Management Committee (CMC) chaired by Armm Acting Governor Mujiv Hataman to send around 60,000 sacks of rice to Tawi-Tawi.
The move is to avert rice shortage since trading between the province of Tawi-Tawi and Sabah has been stopped due to hostilities between the Sultanate of Sulu Royal forces and Malaysian authorities in Lahad Datu.
Hataman noted that businessmen from Tawi-Tawi had been procuring their stocks, including rice, in nearby Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia before the hostilities broke out.
The CMC made the recommendation, citing the daily rice consumption of the people in Tawi-Tawi is 2,000 sacks daily.
Aside from Tawi-Tawi, Nuega said they also supply rice to the NFA office in Jolo, Sulu, where there are also refugees arriving from Sabah.
Some 1,100 refugees from Sabah arrived on Wednesday in the municipalities of Bongao and Panglima Sugala.