Residents displaced by armed conflicts now returning to their homes

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Almost two weeks after the clash between the Philippine Army’s 51st Infantry Battalion (51IB) and the Dawlah Islamiyah-Maute Group (DI-MG) in the mountains of Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte, evacuees have now returned to their homes.

Army personnel have aided the Munai and Tangcal local government units (LGUs) in managing the situation at the designated evacuation areas, where more than 450 families were forced to flee their houses during the battle.

The 47 families that were displaced in Munai returned to their houses two days after the incident.

The 4th Mechanized Infantry Battalion’s Commanding Officer, Lt. Col. Rommel M. Pereña, coordinated with Munai Mayor Racma D. Andamama and presented the battalion’s schedule of activities for Tuesday, August 31, 2021.

According to Pereña, they will deliver a presentation on Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (PCVE) and Stress Debriefing, as well as a feeding program, relief supplies distribution, and other enjoyable activities for the kids.

Meanwhile, in Tangcal, Lanao del Norte, the 5th Mechanized Infantry Battalion, led by Lt. Col. Julius C. Librada, intensified their civil-military operations.

“As part of the unit’s “Saludo ng Kapayapaan” project, we distributed items/gifts to more or less 100 children at the evacuation centers in Tangcal,” said Librada.

Librada met with LGU officials, led by Tangcal municipal mayor Hadjah Fatima M. Tomawis, to discuss peace. He urged them to work with the military rather than supporting the armed organization, and to instead report them to the authorities.

During the distribution of relief goods to the evacuation centers, the 5th Mech also provided protection for the READi-BARMM Assistance Center and the Philippine National Red Cross.

Mayor Tomawis stated that the military has their full support and that they will do their part to assist their constituents, particularly those who have been harmed by the armed conflict.

“The DI-MG has no place in Tangcal. We vow to denounce any terrorist who will seek refuge in our province,” said Tomawis.

Although they had been displaced for a short time, one of the evacuees stated that they were aware of the situation and the Army’s involvement in providing them with a safe and secure environment free of terror.

Maj. Gen. Gene M. Ponio thanked the LGU leaders for their ongoing support of the government’s peace programs and commitment to implementing EO 70, the whole-of-nation approach to achieve inclusive and durable peace in Lanao provinces.

As of this writing, 20 displaced families in Tangcal have not returned to their homes and are staying with relatives.

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