With the  continuing intent to help Filipinos severely affected by the armed conflict in Marawi City, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has released guidelines on the implementation of its P5,000 assistance for internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Marawi. The assistance is being coursed through the DSWD’s Protective Services Program.

DSWD Secretary Judy M. Taguiwalo said that there is an urgent and continuing need to respond to the needs of thousands of IDPs from Marawi City.  Internally Displaced Persons (IDP)/ Families refer to those who are forced to flee their homes but who remain within their country’s borders.  Armed conflict refers to a contested incompatibility which concerns government and/or territory where the use of armed force between two parties, of which at least one is the government of a state.

“Our Muslim brothers and sisters from Marawi are supposed to be observing the holy season of Ramadan, but their normal way of life has been disrupted because of the armed conflict.  They cannot fully observe the rites and eat the traditional meals because most of them have been displaced – with many now staying in the evacuation centers.  We have to give what assistance we can to help them cope with the situation,” she said.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim year when Muslims do not eat between the rising and setting of the sun.  The contents of the DSWD family food packs – 6 kilos of rice, three cans of corned beef and three cans of sardines as well as six packs of ready-to-drink coffee – are not enough or suitable for Ramadan.

“We have decided to provide each affected family with P1,000 apart from the family food packs and all the other food donations that we are receiving on their behalf. The families can use the money to buy food that is more suitable for them when they break their fast at sunset,” said Sec. Taguiwalo.

“As for the remaining P4,000, it will be released to each family when it is already safe for them to return to Marawi. We are also preparing other actions to help them when they resume their lives in their communities – other DSWD programs will be made accessible to them,” she added.

The guidelines are meant to primarily provide guidance to the DSWD Field Offices (FOs) X and XII where there are IDPs due to armed conflict; and to enhance the DSWD’s performance of its mandate as the government’s frontline agency in social protection.  They cover all internally displaced persons or families due to armed conflict in Marawi City.

Cash Assistance

The financial assistance amounting to Five Thousand Pesos (P5,000.00) is broken down as follows: One Thousand Pesos (P1,000.00) is intended for the IDP’s food assistance during the Ramadan, while the remaining Four Thousand Pesos (P4,000.00) is intended to augment their transportation and other needs in going back to their communities.

The cash assistance will be released to the IDPs in the DSWD Off-site Serbisyo locations or at the DSWD Field Offices.   These DSWD Off-site Serbisyo locations will be determined by the Regional Directors or their duly authorized representatives in their respective jurisdictions and shall include any of the following: public schools, barangay halls, day care centers, multi-purpose halls, covered courts or evacuation centers. The venue or location shall put primary consideration to the safety and well-being of the beneficiaries and DSWD service providers.

The DSWD Field Offices will keep and maintain detailed records of services rendered or provided on both physical and financial aspects of the services.  Monitoring shall be conducted by the Field Offices on a daily basis, until the IDPs return to their homes.

Personnel deployment

Meanwhile,  staff from the DSWD Central Office are now being given a briefing by DSWD Field Office X Regional Director Nestor Ramos in Cagayan de Oro. They will provide assistance in the disaster operations of the DSWD in Iligan City and Lanao del Norte.

The staff were deployed to support the Field Office and local government unit social workers in managing evacuation centers in Iligan and other municipalities where the Marawi evacuees are staying. ###