MANILA -- Communications Secretary Martin Andanar on Friday said the government, through Task Force Bangon Marawi, is striving very hard to keep up the hope that returning Marawi residents would go back to a peaceful and prosperous Marawi as more internally displaced persons (IDPs) from the battle-scarred city return to their homes.
In a Palace briefing, Andanar said that as of December 7, 14,319 families or 71,595 persons have already returned to their homes in the 19 barangays (villages) that were previously cleared by the military.
He said these returnees are being provided with basic services and livelihood programs for them to start a new beginning.
According to him, the returnees have already accessed support and maintenance services from the Department of Social Welfare and Development amounting to PHP116,530,934.
This included financial assistance, pabaon food packs, hygiene kits and kitchen kits.
On the supply of electricity, 54.12 percent of Marawi City is energized, according to the Lanao del Sur Electric Cooperative (LASURECO). This includes barangays where residents have already returned during the first and second batch of Kambalingan (homecoming), Andanar reported.
Additionally, LASURECO, in cooperation with other electric cooperatives in Mindanao have also already completed 73 percent of the primary electric lines in Barangay Sagonsongan, where the transitional shelters for IDPs are being constructed.
The Small Business Corporation, a government corporation under the Department of Trade and Industry that assists the micro, small, and medium enterprises have distributed up to PHP10,000 worth of loans to each of 100 eligible IDP borrowers to help them start businesses, the Palace official said.
These were distributed last December 5 and 6. "The sub-committee on business and livelihood also continues to provide sari-sari store kits, sewing tools and machines, carpentry and electronic technician kits to the IDPs in different evacuation centers and to those residents who have already returned home to Marawi, Andanar said.
Meanwhile, the Department of Education (DepEd) is set to launch Brigada Eskwela sa Marawi on December 13 at Amai Pakpak Elementary School, with the actual implementation beginning on December 14 to 15.
The Palace official said that each DepEd division office (DO) in the country will be paired with a Marawi City division school to assist.
Only the Mindanao offices will facilitate the actual implementation, while the DOs from Luzon and Visayas will mobilize the resources they would need.
After the kickoff, quick school level programs will be conducted, which will consist of a community signing session for a manifesto ensuring schools as zones of peace, Andanar said.
In the meantime, the local government unit of Marawi has already conducted community mapping in barangays under cluster number 3 for the forthcoming next leg of Kambalingan.
Andanar said the result of the community mapping will be triangulated with the DSWD database while the concerned barangay LGUs will submit a master list of the returning IDPs.
Meanwhile, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said that DOH continues to respond to the health challenges faced by displaced families.
He said the IDPs are being regularly provided medical check-ups through the Tamang Serbisyong Pangkalusugan para sa Pilipino Services, which included a provision of medical supplies as part of the ongoing medical assistance to all IDPs, whether staying in evacuation centers or home-based.
Nutrition, especially of the young children and the elderly, is another important consideration being responded to.
Moreover, psychological intervention has been made available to affected families and service providers in an effort to address their mental health needs, Duque said.
According to DOH data, a total of 86 deaths were recorded from May 23 up to the present -- with common causes being pneumonia, sepsis, cardiovascular diseases, acute gastroenteritis, and prematurity.
The Health Secretary said that there are currently two Marawi hospitals -- the Amai Pakpak Medical Center and the Doctor Abdullah Hospital -- that are operating on a 24-hour basis, providing relevant medical services.
Furthermore, there are 27 active referral hospitals near the city and 22 serviceable barangay health stations and outposts in Marawi City itself that are open to the public.
According to Duque, the DOH central office, as well as its regional offices and partner agencies, have so far given a total of PHP222,388,985 worth of logistics and funding assistance to the hospitals as well as to the evacuation centers in the concerned areas.
We, at the DOH, assure the people of Marawi that we will not waiver in our efforts to rehabilitate the city through ensuring that their health needs are met on a day-to-day basis, and we ask our fellow Filipinos there to stay strong and be resilient in the everyday challenges of life, Duque said.
After liberating Marawi City from Islamic State-linked terrorists, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) have also continued to progressively help the people of Marawi.
AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr. said that aside from conducting clearing operations in the most affected area, military engineering units are proactively engaged with their counterparts from other government agencies in the continuous construction of temporary shelters in the designated area.
However, he admitted that progress in clearing the 36 barangays comprising the most affected area, where most of the vicious fighting have taken place, has been slow due to the presence of unexploded ordnance as well as improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and booby traps left by the extremists.
The military official said the slow progress is necessary to ensure that the area is totally safe before the evacuees return.
Sana po nauunawaan po ng ating mga kababayan diyan sa Marawi ang ating kinakailangang gawin upang ganap nating masabi na ito'y maayos na at maaari na nilang balikan ng hindi sila mapeperwisyo ng anumang klaseng hazard o anumang patibong o IED, Padilla said.
Source: Philippine News Agency