Sulu folks raise funds; ARMM intensifies ZC relief missions PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 21 September 2013 12:03

The Sulu provincial government has initially collected P234,700 worth of cash donations from local donors in just two days to help sustain relief works for thousands of evacuees in Zamboanga City.

Among the biggest contributors to the fund drive by the office of Sulu Gov. Abdusakur Tan, Jr., were Catholics in the province under the Vicariate of Jolo, led by missionaries of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate.

About 80 percent of the Zamboanga City residents displaced by the violent forays by followers of Nur Misuari since September 9 are ethnic Tausog and Samah Muslims.

Tan’s office, in an emailed statement, said the fund-raising is expected to gain headway in the coming days owing to the support of various sectors, among them the influential Sulu provincial women’s council.

Tan facilitated early this week the transport via separate boats of close to 2,000 traveling Sulu residents whose return to Jolo, capital town of the province, and surrounding island towns, was affected by the closure for almost two weeks now of the seaport in Zamboanga City.

Among the first to respond to Tan’s fund-raising campaign were Members of the Philippine Marine Corps based in Sulu, and the faculty and rank-and-file personnel of the Sulu State College.

The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao augmented again last Wednesday with more workers its Humanitarian Emergency Assistance Response Team (HEART), which is helping the office of Zamboanga City Mayor Isabelle Climaco provide relief services to evacuees.

ARMM Gov. Hataman has dispatched a 20-member medical group from the Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) in Lanao del Sur to Barangay Talon-Talon, near the strife-torn areas in Zamboanga City, to attend to internally-displaced people..

The team is comprised largely of ethnic Maranaw doctors and nurses led by  physician Allen Minalang, chief of the IPHO-Lanao del Sur.

The ARMM’s executive secretary, Laisa Alamia, who is helping oversee HEART’s relief works in Zamboanga City, said Minalang’s group had  established a makeshift clinic and pharmacy in Barangay Talon-Talon.

“Zamboanga City is not part of ARMM, but many students from Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi study there. The city is also connected, economy-wise, to the business communities in the ARMM provinces,” Alamia saiid.

Barangay Talon-Talon is not far from the embattled Barangays Sta, Catalina and Santa Barbara, and the seaside Rio Hondo District, where brigand followers of Misuari are holed out.

Alamia said Hataman and the provincial governors of Sulu, Tawi-Tawi and Basilan, had already facilitated the return of a total of 3,815 stranded travelers to the three island provinces.

Alamia said it was for the support of Tan and Governors Nurbert Sahali and Jum Akbar, of Tawi-Tawi and Basilan, respectively, that the stranded passengers are now back in their home-provinces.

A group of relief workers from the ARMM’s social welfare and health departments also dispersed Thursday food packs and hygiene kits to 250 families confined in makeshift shelters in Barangay Talon-Talon, according to Alamia.