MANILA— The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) activated its red alert status on Wednesday to support the affected families in the aftermath of the ongoing operation of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) against the Maute Group and Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Lanao del Sur.
Report from the DSWD-Disaster Response Assistance and Management Bureau (DREAMB) shows the incident has already affected Barangays Sarimanok, Basak, Malutlot, Bangon, Tuca, Caloocan, Marinaut, and Makilala in Marawi City. Residents are not allowed to go out of their respective houses for security reasons and the city is now blocked by government forces and militants.
Locals from Cotabato City are also advised to take extra-precautionary measures following the declaration of a triple red alert status by their city government due to sightings of suspected terrorists in their area.
Meanwhile, DSWD Secretary Judy Taguiwalo has already met with concerned DSWD officials regarding the response operation of the Department on the incident.
She also directed regions near conflict-affected areas to prepare for possible augmentation support since affected residents are expected to seek refuge in nearby regions.
“We are already anticipating evacuees from Marawi so our regional offices are now on call 24/7 to address the needs of affected residents and to monitor the situation on the ground, as well as to provide us regular situational reports,” stated Taguiwalo.
“The DSWD is ready to provide relief assistance to the people of Marawi and to assist the evacuees in coordination with DSWD-ARMM. We will ensure that the people’s well being, life and rights are upheld and protected,” she added.
The Department currently maintains 169,094 Family Food Packs (FFPs) and standby funds amounting to some P1 billion.
“This is not the time to remain divided because of our political affiliations, gender, ethnicity, language, or religion. We need to stand together and to help each other. We must remain watchful and vigilant,” said Taguiwalo.
“We are one with the rest of the Filipino people in praying for the safety of civilians in Marawi, especially the children, women, and the elderly,” she said.