By Malu Cadelina Manar
Kidapawan City – Close to 4,800 individuals from the towns of Pagalungan in Maguindanao and Pikit in North Cotabato evacuated to safer grounds when the Army’s 6th Infantry Division launched massive air and ground assault in areas believed to be the bases of Abu Torayfe’s Dawla Islamiah Group, one of the identified terror groups operating in Mindanao, reports said.
Tahira Kalantongan, head of the Pikit Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management (MDRRM), said they validated some 292 households or 1,752 individuals from at least six barangays that left their houses when the air strike began, Sunday.
The internally-displaced persons (IDPs) came from the barangays of Barongis, Buliok, Bago Inged, Rajamuda, Talitay, and Inug-og, all in Pikit, data from MDRRM showed.
Kalantongan said that majority of these evacuees were housed temporarily at the Mahad Mindanao, one of the evacuation sites located at Poblacion, Pikit, while others are home-based or those who chose to live with their relatives in the town center.
Kalantongan said the local government of Pikit had given the evacuees a “community kitchen”, which they can use during the Ramadan.
The regional office of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) had also given the Pikit local government additional relief items for the IDPs, she said.
Meantime, in Pagalungan, Benjamin Alip of the MDRRM office reported some 3,000 individuals from barangays of Baguenged, Kudal, and Inug-ug, have also left their houses and have sought temporary shelter at the town’s public market.