- More than 5,000 residents of Sulu evacuated their homes as military prepares its operations in the province
- Many of the evacuees come from the town of Patikul
- Around 7,000 soldiers have been deployed to destroy the Abu Sayaff terrorists
More than 5,000 residents in the province of Sulu have been evacuated as the government is preparing for its operations against the terrorist group Abu Sayaff.
The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office of Sulu said that residents have fled their homes; majority of whom are currently staying in evacuation centers.
The evacuees come mostly from Barangay Latih, Bungkahung, Tugas, and Maligay in the town of Patikul, which will be the center of the military offensive against the Abu Sayaff.
Sulu Governor Totoh Tan has already ordered the dispatching of rice and other provisions for the evacuees. Social workers have also been deployed to look after the civilians and distribute food aid.
Tan also called on the town mayors in Sulu to cooperate with the provincial government and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD, as well as other aid agencies
“The active participation of all local government units is a must. Our task must be properly coordinated to avoid confusion and chaos. Our priority is to provide assistance and relief to our displaced citizens,” Tan told the Mindanao Examiner.
However, the provincial government is also taking necessary precautions so that the aid and relief goods being distributed will not end up in the hands of the terrorists.
The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) government has also prepared support for the residents of Sulu; with special care to the growing number of evacuees due to the escalating conflict in the area.
“Nag-come up kami ng main resolution, una of course ‘yung support natin doon sa anti-terror campaign at pag-ensure doon sa safety ng ating mga kababayan habang naghahanda ang DSWD to coordinate with the local government units para doon sa in case nangangailangan ng ating suporta for the relief operations especially ng mga displacement. [We came up with a main resolution, first of course is the support to the anti-terror campaign and ensuring the safety of our fellow citizens while the DSWD is preparing to coordinate with the local government units for those that need support in the relief operations especially those being displaced],” ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman explained to Bombo Radyo Philippines.
Around 7,000 soldiers were deployed to Sulu, under orders from President Rodrigo Duterte to destroy the Abu Sayaff, which are currently estimated to be around 400 to 500 in number.