At least 1,600 families flee as Army pursues BIFF in Cotabato, Maguindanao
DATU ODIN SINSUAT, Maguindanao –– More than 1,600 families have fled their homes in the border of Cotabato and Maguindanao provinces, where government troops have been pursuing the Islamic State-linked Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) since July 25.
The ballooning figures have prompted humanitarian workers to call for aid to the displaced families as the military said pursuit operations against the BIFF would continue without letup.
So far, 1,691 families have fled their homes in Pikit, Cotabato and Shariff Saydona Mustapha, Maguindanao to avoid the crossfire.
Taya Deles, a community leader and humanitarian worker in Pikit called on concerned groups and individuals to extend assistance to the displaced families.
“The evacuees have been in these evacuation camps since the morning of July 25. They need both food and non-food items,” Deles said.
As of July 29, the Pikit Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO) listed 606 families displaced by the fighting.
The families came from Barangay Dasawao of Shariff Saydona Mustapha town and are now staying in Barangays Makasendeg, Paidu Pulangi and Kabasalan of Pikit town.
Some 1,085 more families fled their homes but stayed within Shariff Saydona Mustapha, according to Mohamad Malaco, MDRRMO in charge of nearby Datu Salibo town in Maguindanao.
Pikit MDRRM Officer Tahira Kalantungan said initial assistance of five kilos of rice were distributed to each displaced family, whether they are staying in evacuation camps or the house of relatives in the town. /lzb
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