1,102 evacuees in Surigao del Sur » Manila Bulletin News



By Mike Crismundo

BUTUAN CITY – The regional office of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) here on Tuesday disclosed that it is now validating the status of the 244 families, or 1,102 individuals, who are mostly lumads or indigenous peoples (IPs) after they fled from their homes and farmlands on Saturday and Sunday in several highland communities (sub-villages) in Barangay Diatagon, Lianga town, Surigao del Sur.


The local residents fled after an alleged attack on their communities by still unidentified armed men on Saturday.

The so-called “bakwits,” or evacuees, are now being sheltered at the Tribal Filipino Program of Surigao del Sur (TRIPFSS) in Kilometer 9, Barangay Diatagon of the same town.

The evacuees came from highland sitios (sub-villages) of Kilometer 14, New Kabuluhan, Old Kabuluhan, Yadawan, Mike, Kilometer 16, Han-ayan, Upper Kilomer 9 and Emerald, all of Barangay Diatagon.

The villagers also reportedly fled their homes for fear of being caught in the crossfire between government security forces and lawless elements.

“There are also 60 teachers and 168 students who evacuated in the same school (TRIPFSS), although the data (made available to us) is still (subject to) validation if they are included in the number of affected families/individuals mentioned above,” DSWD 13 Regional Director Mita Chuchi G. Lim said.

TRIPFSS school taught the lumad students on literature and arithmetic.

The region’s DSWD chief said the agency through the Disaster Response Assistance and Management Bureau (DReAMB) under Director Felino O. Castro V are continuously monitoring the situation in close coordination with the Lianga Social Welfare Development Office and Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council there to ensure provision of continuous and timely updates for possible assistance.

“We are also closely coordinating with the provincial government’s office of Gov. Vicente T. Pimentel for a unified and coordinated effort to address the immediate needs of the evacuees,” Director Lim said, in an exclusive interview with The Manila Bulletin on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Gov. Pimentel is deploying a team that will assess the situation in said conflict areas as well as the condition of the reported evacuees now currently sheltered at Kilometer 9 in Barangay Diatagon, Lianga town.

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