Relief ops in Patikul continue

Posted on Wednesday, February 6th, 2013 and is filed under Lead Stories, Local Government. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines/06 February 2013 by Frencie Carreon—Relief operations continue in Patikul town, with various groups within the network of the Sulu Area Coordinating Center involved in the activity following the armed encounters among elements of the Moro National Liberation Front and the Abu Sayyaf Group last Sunday.

Relief operations continue in Patikul town for the benefit of internally displaced families within the three affected communities. The Patikul local government, Sulu provincial government, D'Alert Lupah Sug, military and police forces have been working for the operations that was facilitated by the Sulu Area Coordinating Center. Photo shows SACC Executive Director Fazlur-Rahman Abdulla assisting a conflict-affected resident. PHOTO COURTESY OF SACC

“We are planning and coordinating for one relief operations after another with one organization after the other taking the lead because we do not wish to see resources to run out.  At this point, with the number of families affected by the domestic conflict, we just can’t exhaust all resources at one time,” said Sulu Area Coordinating Center chair Executive Director Fazlur-Rahman Abdulla.

Yesterday, the SACC led a group of volunteers and representatives from the police and military in providing assistance to the Patikul local government personnel who conducted the relief operations on Monday, 04 February.

“We served 468 families in three barangays (villages) in Patikul town.  All of them are home-based, so no one is staying in the evacuation centers which we identified,” Abdulla said.

“It is not unusual for some local folk to have two houses, one near the populated settlements along the road, and one in the hinterlands where they spend some time for farming.  Others are staying with relatives,” he added.

Sunday’s conflict caused the loss of 12 lives, seven among whom were beheaded, and the wounding of more than thirty others from both sides of the warring groups, MNLF and ASG.  Conflict ensued following the pursuit of MNLF fighters under Ustadz Khabir Malik against ASG elements who were holding captive Jordanian journalist Baker Atyani and two Filipino television crew men.  The two, Ramil Vela and Rolando Letrero, were released Saturday in Jolo town.

“But only a portion of Patikul is affected, not the entire town, and certainly, not the entire province.  Jolo in fact is totally unaffected,” Abdulla stressed.

Meanwhile, in a separate interview, Lt. Col. Romulo Quemado, commander of the Marine Battalion Landing Team 2 said, “It has been a dramatic turn of events.  Now we have the MNLF finally deciding to put an end to kidnappings in Sulu.  Hence, the clash with the ASG.”  (Frencie Carreon, The PhilSouth Angle)

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