Philippines - ReliefWeb News
The Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), situated within the Philippines and initially founded in 1989, consists of five provinces – Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi. Conflict between Moro1 groups seeking an independent state in Mindanao, and the Government of the Philippines (GPH) has been ongoing for four decades (Heydarian, 2015, p. 1). After numerous attempts to resolve the conflicts, a final peace agreement between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Philippines’ largest rebel group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), was signed in 2014 paving the way for the establishment of a new Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BAR) to replace the current ARMM. However, progress on the implementation of the peace agreement has been slow. The Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), which is the basis for the creation of the new BAR, has not been passed and seems unlikely to do so before the Philippines holds presidential elections in 2016.
The conflict between the GPH and the MILF is not the only conflict affecting the ARMM. Rather, the conflict situation in Mindanao is multi-faceted, involving numerous armed groups, as well as clans, criminal gangs and political elites. While the GPH is actively trying to resolve these conflicts, the degree of violence and unrest in the ARMM serves as a major obstacle to achieving sustainable peace in the region.
There is a relatively small body of recent literature on conflict in Muslim Mindanao. This largely consists of grey literature, although a number of academic journal articles have also been published on the subject. A recent initiative led by International Alert and the World Bank, provides quantitative data on all the main drivers of conflict in the ARMM, disaggregated by province. This is called the Bangsamoro Conflict Monitoring System (BCMS).
The presence of a plethora of armed groups in the ARMM increases the risk of accidental clashes between groups which are aligned, or between armed groups and government forces. However, the Moro insurgencies in the region are not considered to be the main source of conflict in the region by INGOs and academics working in the ARMM. Thus, while resolving the conflict between the GPH and the MILF will be a step towards peace in the ARMM, it will not end conflict in the region.
Rido or clan feuding is one of the primary drivers of conflict in the region. Moreover, it is inter-linked with many of the other drivers of conflict discussed in this report, as conflict actors in the ARMM often belong to multiple groups and frequently shift alliances.
Lawlessness in Mindanao is responsible for thriving shadow economies. Principal among these are the trade in illegal drugs and weapons. While the shadow economies in the ARMM are linked to violence and conflict, some of them, such as cross-border trade in the Sulu Sea also have the potential to contribute to peace. This is because they play an important role in the provision of livelihoods for fragile island communities.
Intercommunal tensions are also prevalent in Mindanao. Moros do not constitute a single ethnic group. Numerous Muslim ethnic groups have distinct linguistic and cultural traditions while at the same time identifying as Moro because of their religion. Moreover there are sizeable populations of descendants of Christian settlers from other parts of the Philippines living in the ARMM, as well as non-Muslim indigenous tribes, referred to collectively as Lumad. While intercommunal tensions are not a major source of conflict in the ARMM, the potential for conflict if all groups are not fairly represented in the new BAR is highlighted in the literature.
The absence of state services in the ARMM also contributes to fragility and instability in the region. Regional government spending on services is low, and the provision of healthcare and education in the region is inadequate.
International involvement in resolving conflict in the ARMM has been relatively limited. Conflict resolution efforts have largely been led by, but not limited to, Muslim actors, such as Malaysia and the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC). Beyond Malaysia’s facilitation of the peace process, regional actors have shown very little interest in conflict in Mindanao in recent years.
Conflict in the ARMM affects men and women in different ways. There is a growing body of literature on gender and conflict in Mindanao. Moreover, a number of recent papers look at the role that women can play in peacemaking and peacebuilding in the region.
World: Le sort des enfants en temps de conflit armé - Rapport du Secrétaire général (A/70/836–S/2016/360)
1. Le présent rapport, qui couvre la période allant de janvier à décembre 2015, est soumis en application de la résolution 2225 (2015) du Conseil de sécurité. Il renseigne sur l’impact des conflits armés sur les enfants à l’échelon mondial et donne des informations sur les violations graves commises contre des enfants en 2015. Les principales activités et initiatives menées en exécution des résolutions du Conseil de sécurité sur la question et les conclusions du Groupe de travail sur le sort des enfants en temps de conflit armé y sont également présentées. Conformément aux résolutions pertinentes du Conseil, on trouve dans les annexes au présent rapport la liste des parties qui recrutent et utilisent des enfants, commettent des agressions sexuelles sur la personne d’enfants, des meurtres ou des atteintes à leur intégrité physique, attaquent les écoles et les hôpitaux, ainsi que le personnel protégé, ou menacent de le faire, en violation du droit international.
2. L’Organisation des Nations Unies a vérifié l’exactitude de toutes les informations consignées dans le présent rapport et ses annexes. Elle a signalé les cas où des facteurs comme l’insécurité ou les restrictions d’accès l’ont empêchée de recueillir ou de vérifier des informations en toute indépendance. Le présent rapport et ses annexes sont le fruit de vastes consultations menées au sein du système des Nations Unies, au Siège et sur le terrain, et avec les États Membres concernés.
3. Conformément à la résolution 1612 (2005) du Conseil de sécurité et pour identifier les situations relevant de son mandat, ma Représentante spéciale pour le sort des enfants en temps de conflit armé a adopté une approche pragmatique de la question, en insistant sur les principes humanitaires qui visent à garantir une protection large et efficace des enfants. La mention dans le présent rapport de telle ou telle situation ne vaut pas qualification juridique de ladite situation et la mention de telle ou telle partie non étatique ne préjuge pas de son statut juridique.
II. Impact des conflits armés sur les enfants
A. Tendances et faits nouveaux
4. La protection des enfants touchés par les conflits armés est demeurée très problématique tout au long de l’année 2015. Les enfants font lourdement les frais de notre échec collectif à prévenir et régler les conflits, et les violations graves dont ils sont victimes ont gagné en intensité dans un certain nombre de situations de conflit armé, comme il est mis en évidence dans le présent rapport. Ces violations sont directement liées au peu d’importance accordée au respect des droits de l’homme et du droit international humanitaire par les parties au conflit.
5. Les conflits prolongés ont eu un impact important sur les enfants. En République arabe syrienne, le conflit qui dure depuis cinq ans a déjà fait plus de 250 000 morts, dont des milliers d’enfants. En Afghanistan, l’année 2015 a connu le plus grand nombre de victimes jamais enregistré parmi les enfants depuis que l’ONU a commencé à comptabiliser systématiquement les pertes civiles en 2009. En Somalie, la situation est restée périlleuse, avec une augmentation de 50 % du nombre recensé de violations commises à l’encontre d’enfants par rapport à 2014, soit plusieurs centaines de cas d’enfants recrutés, utilisés, tués ou mutilés. Au Soudan du Sud, il est éminemment préoccupant que des enfants aient subi l’ensemble des six violations graves, notamment lors d’offensives militaires brutales contre les forces d’opposition.
6. Au Yémen, le conflit a connu un embrasement particulièrement inquiétant. L’ONU a établi que le nombre d’enfants recrutés en 2015 avait quintuplé par rapport à l’année précédente. À cela s’ajoute une multiplication par six du nombre d’enfants tués ou mutilés au cours de la même période. Ces tendances alarmantes se sont poursuivies au début de 2016.
7. Les attaques contre des écoles et des hôpitaux ont été très fréquentes en 2015, notamment du fait de l’utilisation croissante de frappes aériennes et d’armes explosives dans des zones peuplées. Les groupes armés ont particulièrement cherché à restreindre l’accès des filles à l’éducation, et quant aux forces gouvernementales elles ont également attaqué des écoles et des hôpitaux. Les États Membres devraient envisager, selon qu’il convient, de modifier leurs politiques, procédures militaires et appareils législatifs afin de protéger de telles installations.
Shock at the Scale of Grave Violations Committed Against Children in 2015
New York – In his Annual report on children and armed conflict covering the year 2015, the UN Secretary-General expressed his shock at the scale of grave violations committed against children in countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
Emerging and escalating crises had a horrific impact on boys and girls. The situation in Yemen was particularly worrisome with a five-fold increase in the number of children recruited and six times more children killed and maimed compared to 2014. Violations committed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) continued to have a devastating impact on children, including persistent child recruitment and use and boys featured as child soldiers in social media and in some cases as executioners. In Nigeria, Boko Haram increased suicide attacks, including by using 21 girls as suicide bombers in crowded public spaces. The armed group spread its activities from northeastern Nigeria to neighboring countries, causing a significant number of casualties among civilians and large-scale displacements.
“In several situations of conflict, aerial operations contributed to creating complex environments in which large numbers of children were killed and maimed. State-allied armed groups and militia have also increasingly been used to fight in support of Government forces, in some cases recruiting and using children,” said Leila Zerrougui, the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict.
In Syria, thousands of children have been killed during over five years of war. Afghanistan recorded the highest number of child deaths and injuries since the UN started systematically documenting civilian casualties in 2009. In Somalia, there was a 50% increase in the number of recorded violations against children. In South Sudan, children were victims of gruesome violations, particularly during brutal military offensives against opposition forces.
“I am also gravely concerned by the increasing number of children deprived of liberty for their alleged association with parties to conflict. I call upon Member States to treat these children primarily as victims to ensure the full protection of their human rights and to urgently put in place alternatives to detention and prosecution of children,” declared Leila Zerrougui.
Reducing the impact of violent extremism on children
Again in 2015, children were significantly affected by violent extremism and too often the direct targets of acts intended to cause maximum civilian casualties and terrorize communities. In addition, the response to armed groups perpetrating violent extremism created new challenges for the protection of children.
In the report, the Secretary-General urged Member States to ensure their engagement in hostilities and responses to all threats to peace and security, including in efforts to counter violent extremism, are conducted in full compliance with international humanitarian, human rights and refugee law. He added that it is “unacceptable that failure to do so has resulted in numerous violations of children’s rights”.
The report recommended that Member States include specific mitigating measures for the protection of children in their responses, particularly when conducting aerial bombing campaigns or ground operations, and called on all parties to conflict to refrain from using explosive weapons with wide-area effects in populated areas, and to consider making a commitment to this effect.
Attacks on schools, hospitals and protected persons
Attacks on schools and hospitals were prevalent in 2015 and documented in 19 out of 20 situations of conflict. The increasing use of airstrikes and explosive weapons in populated areas had a detrimental impact on schools and hospitals. Medical and education personnel continued to be threatened or attacked. In some conflict situations, armed groups particularly targeted girl’s access to education or attacked schools and teachers to impose their own curriculum.
With the adoption of resolution 2225 a year ago, the UN Security Council requested the Secretary-General to list parties to conflict that engage in patterns of abduction of children. As a result, Boko Haram, ISIL, the Lord’s Resistance Army and Al-Shabaab are among six parties listed in the report for this violation.
Children, Not Soldiers
The momentum created by the campaign ‘Children, Not Soldiers’ helped consolidate the emerging consensus that children do not belong in security forces in conflict. In March 2016, the Government of Sudan, the last of the Campaign countries, signed an Action Plan to end and prevent the recruitment of children. All Governments identified by the Secretary-General for the recruitment and use of children in their security forces have now engaged in an Action Plan process and there was notable progress in Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Myanmar. Despite prior commitments by their Governments, children in Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen faced challenging conflict situations.
Engagement with non-State armed groups
In 2015, there was strong engagement with non-State armed groups, within or outside the framework of peace processes, in the Central African Republic, Colombia, Mali, Myanmar, the Philippines, Sudan and South Sudan, which led to the release of over 8,000 children.
“The recent agreement between the Government of Colombia and the FARC to release all children associated with the armed group is historic,” said the Special Representative.
“I am encouraged by the perspective of more constructive engagement with non-state armed groups this year, but, I wish to remind everyone that it is crucial to ensure appropriate resources for the reintegration of all the children released, with special attention given to psycho-social support and the needs of girls,” she concluded.
The report in numbers:
20 situations of conflict with parties listed in 14 countries
The countries with parties listed are: Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Colombia, DRC, Iraq, Mali, Myanmar, Nigeria, Philippines, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Yemen.
Situations of concern with no parties listed: India, Israel/State of Palestine, Lebanon, Libya, Pakistan, Thailand)
60 parties to conflict listed for grave violations against children
9 Government security forces
51 non-State armed groups
The UN Security Council has identified 5 triggers for listing parties to conflict:
Recruitment and use of children
(Resolution 1379 adopted in 2001, first listings in 2002)
58 parties to conflict : 7 government security forces, 51 non-State armed groups
Killing and maiming of children
(resolution 1881, adopted in 2009, first listings in 2010)
19 parties to conflict : 4 government security forces, 15 non-State armed groups
Rape and other forms of sexual violence
(resolution 1881, adopted in 2009, first listings in 2010):
14 parties to conflict : 2 government security forces, 12 non-State armed groups
Attacks on schools and hospitals
(resolution 1998, adopted in 2011, first listings in 2012)
10 parties to conflict: 2 government security forces, 8 non-State armed groups
Abduction of children
(resolution 2225, adopted in 2015, first listings in 2016):
6 parties to conflict : 1 government security force, 5 non-State armed groups
In accordance with Security Council resolution 2225 (2015), Al-Shabaab (Somalia), Boko Haram (Nigeria), LRA (Central African Republic and Democratic Republic of the Congo), ISIL (Iraq) and the Taliban (Afghanistan) are listed for abduction of children. Those five groups have committed patterns of abduction of children over a number of years. SPLA (South Sudan) is also listed for abduction as a result of hundreds of violations attributed to it in 2015. Other parties have been added to existing trigger violations. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Raia Mutomboki5 is listed for the recruitment and use of and sexual violence against children. In Nigeria, the Civilian Joint Task Force is listed for the recruitment and use of children, with more than 50 verified cases in 2015. In South Sudan, SPLA is now also listed for sexual violence against children, with more than 100 incidents attributed to government forces. In Yemen, owing to the very large number of violations attributed to the two parties, the Houthis/Ansar Allah and the Saudi Arabia-led coalition are listed for killing and maiming and attacks on schools and hospitals.
KIDAPAWAN CITY, North Cotabato, May 31 (PIA)--- A total of 103 farmers from the towns of Makilala and Magpet and from Kidapawan City recently received farm animals from the province’s Animal Dispersal Program.
From the said number, 19 were from the villages of Makilala, 10 from Kidapawan City and 74 from Magpet town. The farm animals which were particularly distributed to drought- affected farmers include piglets and goats.
“We want the farmers to achieve what we envision for them and that is to improve their production for them to be more resilient in times of calamity,” Governor Emmylou Mendoza noted.
The governor further said that the assistance aims to help farmers as the backbone of agriculture and dependable partners of the provincial government in attaining progress and development.
In the recent animal dispersal activities, the farmer-beneficiaries were urged to take good care of the farm animals in order to maximize its use and in the process can help them in raising more animals in their farms or backyards. Aside from piglets and goats, the Office of the Provincial Veterinarian (OPVet) also disperses cows, carabaos and ducks to the beneficiaries making the program more helpful to the farmers.
“We are giving the kind of animals requested by the farmers to include large and small ruminants and poultry animals so they have more opportunity to improve their livelihoods,” Provincial Veterinarian Dr. Rufina Sorupia stated.
Meanwhile, he advised the beneficiaries to abide with the Memorandum of Agreement which emphasizes the giving back of the first offspring of the animals to the OPVet to be used in the next dispersals or next group of recipients.
He further disclosed that the OPVet made the necessary procedures to ensure the beneficiaries are able in taking care of the animals which include verification of the farmers’ background so that the program will be sustained.
In return, the OPVet makes sure that the animals for distribution are in good condition before giving it to the recipients.
With the program, Mary Rose Pungyan, one of the farmer- beneficiaries from Barangay Old Bulatukan, Makilala said that the animals will improve their livelihood.
“I thank the provincial government for giving us the opportunity to improve our living condition through this particular program,” she said promising to make the program an instrument to improve her life. (SJDuerme-PIA12 with report from JSta.Cruz&RASotto-NorthCot Media Center)
KIDAPAWAN CITY, North Cotabato, May 31 (PIA) -- Over 20,000 drought-hit households in Kidapawan City are set to receive rice from the city government here.
By order from Mayor Joseph Evangelista, the City Social Welfare and Development Office in partnership with the Philippine Red Cross resumed on Tuesday (May 31) the conduct of Rice Calamity Assistance Distribution.
Lorna Morales, city social welfare and development officer, revealed that the current batch of rice aid were provided by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD 12) and donated by the City Government of Davao.
On Monday, Morales added, the city government started delivering rice allocations to the target barangays where the barangay officials and their volunteers have been directed to do the repacking and distribution to specified beneficiaries.
Each family was allotted 12 kilograms of rice: 5 kg from the DSWD 12 and 7 kg from Davao City government.
She added that 24 barangays are being prioritized in the relief operations, namely: Mateo, Luvimin, Sibawan, Marbel, Kalasuyan, New Bohol, Linangkob, San Isidro, Katipunan, Sikitan, Singao, Magsaysay, Amazion, Lanao, Manongol, Birada, Mua-an, Ginatilan, Meohao, Ilomavis, Balabag, Perez, Indangan and Nuangan.
Residents in Barangays Poblacion, Balindog and Sudapin will receive their rice allocations next week.
Also, Morales confirmed that more rice assistance will be delivered to the families suffering from the effects of El Nino.
She pointed out that after completing the current batch of rice distribution, the CSWDO will be returning to 13 villages for another round of relief operations.
Morales identified these villages as Barangays Malinan, Paco, Onica, Kalaisan, Junction, Macebolig, Amas, Patadon, Sumbac, Sto Nino, San Roque, Gayola and Binoligan.
In an earlier round of relief operations in these villages received 5 kg of rice. For the second round, the same recipient families will be given 7 kg each out of the rice donated by the city government of Davao.
Labintatlong barangay mabibigyan din ng bigas mula sa Davao City Government.
LGU-Kidapawan received the rice donations from Davao City on May 21. (DEDoguiles-PIA 12 with report from Kidapawan City Information Office.)
Local NGOs respond to emergencies and build resilience in communities affected by recurrent disasters and conflict in Mindanao.
Anticipated La Niña may bring above-normal rainfall and strong typhoons to the Philippines in late 2016.
The Philippines committed to enhanced national and regional disaster preparedness, strategic private sector engagement in disaster management, and community resilience at the World Humanitarian Summit.
Local NGOs respond to emergencies and build community resilience in Mindanao
Humanitarians at home in coalition
Local NGOs and civil society organizations (CSOs), as part of their own communities, work to reduce poverty and drive sustainable development. When disasters or conflict strike, they are the first to respond with relief assistance and stay to support recovery and build community resilience long after other organizations have left.
Mindanao is home to diverse groups of Muslims, Christians and indigenous peoples who suffer recurrent displacement due to tropical cyclones, seasonal flooding and armed clashes. Here, local organizations have engaged in an array of programmes encompassing humanitarian response, development assistance and peacebuilding. The Mindanao Coalition of Development NGO Networks (MINCODE) is one of the largest NGO coalitions in the Philippines composed of 11 CSO networks with some 700 organizations, a few of which will be introduced below.
Building flood resilience in indigenous villages of Agusan Marsh
The Philippine Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Areas (PhilDHRRA) is a network of 52 NGOs that run agrarian reform and rural development programmes across the country. PhilDHRRA’s Mindanao chapter recently completed a three-year disaster preparedness project that covered eight municipalities in Agusan del Sur province.
Monobo tribes form the majority of indigenous people who reside in the Agusan Marsh, which floods annually between November and February. The communities rely on fishing during the wet season and farming rice and vegetables during the drier months.
They have also adapted to living in floating villages, complete with schools, daycare centres and health stations, and using pump boats for transportation.
Increasingly severe flooding in recent years has forced the Manobos to elevate their homes and infrastructure.
Disaster risk reduction and preparedness have become their priorities, according to Glenn Bais, Mindanao Regional Coordinator of PhilDHRRA. The group provided these communities with pump boats, a spiral tube water wheel for power-free irrigation, and flood- and pest-resistant rice seeds. It also set up a seed bank to maintain local seed availability and diversity.
The current El Niño episode, considered one of the strongest in recent times, has shown signs of weakening and is expected to end in July. El Niño-induced drought has peaked in May, and its impact will continually be felt in the coming months in parts of the Philippines. Meanwhile, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) declared the onset of the rainy season and warned of above-normal rainfall due to La Niña in the second half of 2016.
Description of the disaster
On 18 October 2015, Typhoon Koppu (locally known as Lando) made landfall over the town of Casiguran, Aurora province, around 360 km northeast of Philippine capital, Manila. A category 3 typhoon upon landfall, Koppu brought sustained winds of up to 185 km/h and gusts of up to 220 km/h. The slow moving typhoon also brought 300 to 760 mm of rainfall over central and northern Luzon for 5 days, equal to one month’s worth of rainfall in some areas. Koppu inundated many farmlands and destroyed crops and livestock. The typhoon also damaged shelters, especially in the eastern coast of the Philippines.
Typhoon Koppu left 48 people dead, 83 injured and more than 3.13 million people (626,000 families) affected. According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), more than 138,000 houses were damaged, with 19,000 totally destroyed. The council also reported that more than 9 billion Philippine peso (PHP) (CHF 191 million) worth of agricultural produce and livestock were lost.
Summary of the response
Overview of Host National Society
The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) is the nation’s largest humanitarian organization and works through 100 chapters covering all administrative districts and major cities in the country. It has at least 1,000 staff at the national headquarters and chapter levels, and approximately 1 million volunteers and supporters, of whom some 500,000 are active volunteers. At chapter level, a programme called Red Cross 143 is in place where volunteers enhance the overall capacity of the National Society to prepare for and respond in disaster situations.
As Typhoon Koppu approached, PRC released a memorandum for all chapters along its projected path and bandwidth to prepare for response. In the aftermath, the National Society – specifically chapters in the provinces of Aurora, Bataan, Benguet, Bulacan, Cagayan, Isabela, Kalinga, La Union, Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan, Tarlac and Zambales – mobilized/deployed a total of 63 staff members and 296 volunteers for the operation.
Overview of Red Cross Red Crescent Movement in country In response to this operation, Red Cross Red Crescent Movement partners, apart from PRC and IFRC, include the ICRC, which made food and non-food items available for distribution as well as the Qatar Red Crescent which provided funding for food support. Non-food item stocks, pre-positioned following 2013’s Typhoon Haiyan funded by New Zealand Aid and the Government of Australia, were also released by PRC for distribution.
Overview of non-Red Cross Red Crescent actors in country
Coordinating with the authorities: As an auxiliary to the public authorities, PRC maintains a strong relationship with government bodies through participation or collaboration with (i) NDRRMC; (ii) the provincial, municipal and barangay (village) disaster risk reduction and management councils (DRRMCs); and (iii) the local government units defined in the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act from 2010. As a member of NDRRMC as well as regional, provincial and local DRRMCs, PRC coordinated with central and local public authorities by participating in pre-disaster risk assessment and preparedness meetings.
The PRC and the IFRC country office attended coordination meetings called by the Office of Civil Defense, NDRRMC and the Department of Social Welfare and Development. PRC also provided consistent updates to Movement partners with in-country presence as well as to its external partners.
Inter-agency coordination: At country level, PRC and IFRC participate in Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) meetings held during disasters and non-emergency times. PRC and IFRC are also involved in relevant government-led or Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) clusters and inter-cluster mechanisms. In the course of this response, PRC and IFRC engaged with other HCT members, among others, to avoid duplication of efforts and to ensure complementarity.
The dates will be distributed by WFP to 60,000 school children in Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, and Maguindanao. Dates, which are a staple food in the Middle East and Muslim communities, are usually eaten to break the day-long fast during Ramadan.
“In continuation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to those who need it most regardless of where they are, this dates donation is in support of our brethren in the Philippines,” said Fahad Al-Osaimy, Director Emergency Aid for KSrelief.
“Ramadan is the time of giving and so we are grateful for the generosity of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for their continued support to our Muslim brothers and sisters here in the Philippines,” said WFP Philippines Representative and Country Director Praveen Agrawal.
“The dates are an important complement to WFP’s school meals, which at times are the only well-balanced meal that the children will eat in the day,” added Agrawal. He further explained that school meals provide critical social support, encouraging more regular attendance at school, in addition to contributing to children’s protection in emergencies. They are also a key long-term investment in millions of people’s futures, in local economies and in reducing hunger, he said.
Since 2010, the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has donated over 230 metric tonnes of dates to WFP which have been distributed to families in Mindanao.
Aside from the dates, WFP provides hot and nutritious meals every school year to students in over 200 schools located in conflict-affected areas in Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, and Maguindanao.
By Merlito G. Edale Jr.
CAUAYAN CITY, Isabela, May 29 (PIA) – The city agriculture office here is set to distribute free rice and corn seeds to marginalized farmers in the city next week.
Rufino Arcega, city agriculturist, said his office will provide free rice and corn seeds for the marginalized farmers who were not able to avail of said subsidy last cropping season.
Arcega said there are more than 2,000 bags of rice seeds and 700 bags of corn seeds ready for distribution next week.
He said the free rice and corn seeds subsidy is part of the city government's program of helping the marginalized farmers affected by El Nino.
Arcega said, in the last few months, a number of rice and corn farmers were greatly affected by drought, prompting the city government to help them through provision of planting materials as initial subsidy. (ALM/MGE/PIA-2 Isabela)
PASIG CITY, May 30 - As the rainy season is about to start, Secretary Mel Senen S. Sarmiento of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is calling on all local government units (LGUs) to carry out the disaster preparedness measures under Operation Listo.
According to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), the current El Nino is already in its decaying stage and there is a possible rise of La Nina during the second half of 2016.
PAGASA particularly warned the provinces of Isabela, Quezon, Samar, Leyte, Surigao, Agusan and Bicol of the developing La Nina.
In a directive, Sarmiento urged all provincial governors, city and municipal mayors, and DILG regional directors to take precautionary measures in their respective areas of responsibility.
“LGUs are encouraged to convene their respective Local Disaster Risk Reduction Management Councils to prepare a La Nina Action Plan; closely coordinate with PAGASA for timely weather updates and with the DENR-Mines and Geosciences Bureau for adequate information on the threat of flooding and rainfall-induced landslides within the respective LGU,” said Sarmiento.
He also directed LGUs to regularly submit a status report to the DILG, through its Field and Regional Offices, on all La Nina related incidents, including planning,preparations and general assessments.
Sarmiento also reminds LGUs to implement the early preparedness actions listed in the Operation Listo Manuals for hydro-meteorological hazards namely the (1) Checklist of Critical Preparations for Mayors, (2) Checklist of Early Preparations for Mayors, and (3) Checklist for Municipal Local Government Operations Officers, Chiefs of Police, and Fire Marshalls.
These manuals lay down disaster preparedness minimum standards before, during, and after a disaster.
There are four General Actions to be undertaken proactively by local chief executives to be able to carry out the functions during the critical period when an advisory or alert is issued by PAGASA: (1) create the local Disaster Risk Reduction Management structures and systems to be mobilized; (2) institutionalize policies and plans; (3) build the competency of the created structures through various trainings; and (4) complement the competency by purchasing and preparing the needed hardware and supplies to equip the actions.
“As the Manuals say, these are done during ‘peace time’ or when no immediate threat of a disaster. Tamang paghahanda, tamang aksyon. This is what Operation Listo reminds everyone that we must be preemptive instead of reactive,” said Sarmiento.
Operation Listo is an advocacy program of the DILG which aims to strengthen disaster preparedness of LGUs using the whole-of-government approach. Its first component called Listong Pamahalaang Lokal was launched in 2014 which institutionalized local protocols for disaster preparedness, response and monitoring.
“The goal is always zero casualty. The effectiveness of implementing Operation Listo is evident when we had no casualty in places affected by Bagyong Chedeng in Regions 2 and 3 including Pampanga last year,” Sarmiento pointed out.
Listong Pamayanan and Listong Pamilyang Pilipino
Last month, President Benigno S. Aquino III led the DILG’s launching of two new components of Operation Listo: the Listong Pamayanan and Listong Pamilyang Pilipino.
Listong Pamayanan are a capacity development interventions that started from LGUs and to be cascaded to the community; and the Listong Pamilyang Pilipino focuses on the family and household level preparedness.
In Listong Pamilyang Pilipino, the DILG partners with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in distributing “Gabay at Mapa”, which is a family guide to action before, during and after a disaster. It requires families to make a household plan determining their evacuation routes, family meeting points, and safe places in their home.
Families are advised to prepare their e-Balde, or Emergency Balde, which contains essential items to be brought during evacuation, such as ready-to-eat food, three gallons of water, medicine, first-aid and hygiene kits, clothes, flashlights, and radios. (DILG)