ARMM extends assistance to 2,000 evacuees in Basilan

By Yas Ocampo and Nonoy Lacson

DAVAO CITY -- The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) government has been able to render assistance to 2,000 individuals, who were displaced by the government’s pursuit of armed groups in Lamitan, Basilan, the ARMM Bureau of Public Information (BPI) said.

ARMM Bureau of Public Information Regional Governor –ARMM Mujiv Hataman
Credit: ARMM Bureau of Public Information via Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN

Jo Henry, communications officer of the ARMM - Humanitarian Emergency Action Response Team (HEART), said regional officials, led by ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman, visited the affected communities to distribute relief goods and food packs to displaced families.

The pursuit operations came after an explosion of a van last July 31, the blast killing 11.

Financial assistance and relief goods from the regional government were given to the victims of the explosion, the BPI said.

Nurin Salih, municipal social welfare officer, said 705 families from different villages including Tuburan Proper, Languyan, Langgung and Buton were affected by the military operation.

“A total of 2,181 individuals fled their homes for fear of being hurt during firefight,” said Salih.

Tuburan Proper Barangay Chairman Jamar Jamiri, Tuburan said 385 families cannot leave their homes and are in danger of being caught in the crossfire.

Task Force Basilan Commander Col. Fernando Reyeg, however, assured displaced residents of their safety and that they could now return home.

Hataman earlier condemned the senseless attack and vowed to exert every effort to help the families affected by the incident. “We will strengthen efforts to secure our region without compromising the rights of the Bangsamoro,” he said.

Meanwhile, police authorities in the province have established the identity of the registered owner of the Hyundai van which was used as the car bomb.

Based on a police reports reaching here, the Hyundai van was first bought in Region 12, and was sold to two people, including a policeman.

It was finally sold to a resident of Mohammad Ajul town, the last owner to have owned the vehicle prior to the incident.

Lawmen are already trying to reach the vehicle’s owner to get information on how the van landed in the hands of the bombers.

Police refused to release the names of the owners pending investigation.