Desperate Marawi evacuees sell relief goods for cash
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY — A number of refugees from Marawi City are so desperate for cash that they have began selling relief goods to raise money for their other needs, according to an officer of a group providing assistance to them.
Sommayah Manaleseg, a campaign officer for Tindeg Ranao, an organization assisting Marawi evacuees, said this was what many internally displaced persons (IDPs) had admitted.
“They are not denying it. And we cannot blame them. It’s a manifestation of the desperation of the evacuees,” Manaleseg told the Inquirer.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) had warned that people caught selling or buying food packs given to individuals affected by disasters was punishable by law.
Jamila Taha, the DSWD Northern Mindanao information officer, said they continued to receive reports of IDPs at an evacuation center in Iligan City selling relief supplies. Only one had been apprehended so far, Taha said.
Instead of punishing the IDPs, the government should help them through a sustainable cash assistance program, Manaleseg said.
Northern Mindanao hosts around 350,000 residents from Marawi in 33 evacuation centers, mostly in Lanao del Norte province and Iligan City.
Taha said others had also resorted to forging documents to receive more relief goods to sell.
Authorities last month seized more than 1,600 fake disaster assistance and family access cards from several IDPs, she said.
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