My previous post detailed my personal experience joining the Colonsabac, Matanao team of the National Interfaith Humanitarian Mission (NIHM.) Yesterday I went to Ateneo de Davao University to attend the public presentation of overall findings of the NIHM to the four areas: Marawi City, President Roxas North Cotabato, Maguindanao and Matanao.
I wish to share some of the data.
- The NIHM notes a total of 325,294 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Mindanao. For scale: that is a more of the entire population of NHL champion city Pittsburgh (pop 305,412 -2014 census) The steady increase of IDPs is a result of the drawn out Marawi siege, the AFP’s love affair with airstrikes that cause massive property destruction and friendly casualties, as well as other aerial bombardments in other parts of mindanao to suppress terrorism.
- The NIHM was only able to provide for 1,222 families. The IDP situation is made complex by the number of unaccounted home based evacuees who remain un-or underserved.
- NIHM medical found the top 10 diseases in the evacuation center served to be Upper Respiratory Tract Infection, Skin Diseases, Pulmonary Tuberculosis suspected (Class III) and active (Class V), Acute Gastroenteritis, Peptic Ulcer Disease/Dyspepsia, Muscoskeletal pain, Hypertension, Headache, Pneumonia, Gyne cases and Pregnancy. Pregnancy isn’t a disease but it does require attention and a more stable environment then say, an evacuation center. Health services are scarce in the centers and the ones that do exists are stretched thin and overloaded, thereby bringing the quality of healthcare down.
- Aside from medical, mental health is a very real concern especially among children:
“as they witnessed heavily armed men, who they referred as ‘ISIS’, occupying their community and engaging in firefight with military elements. They express the same feeling and fear towards government soldiers. They witnessed helicopters hovering above Marawi City and dropping bombs on their communities. Their current temporary shelter in evacuation centers particularly those near Marawi City does not insulate them from the source of their fears as they continue to hear the sound of bombs especially at night time.”
In short, the NIHM finds that
- Martial Law and the AFP’s indiscriminate aerial bombardment approach has spawned massive human rights violations
- Martial Law’s adverse and grave impact on the human rights and welfare of civilians demonstrates its lack of effectivity and casts doubt on its appropriateness as a response to a small, armed, and foreign-affiliated terrorist group.
- Intensified indiscriminate aerial bombardment is the primary character of Martial Law.
- Martial Law demonstrates an anti-people and anti-insurgency motive, with the Moro and Lumad civilians and communities as its target.
- Victims call to lift Martial Law, end aerial to aerial bombardment, and stop to militarization.
- Alarming and condemnable criminal and terrorist acts of local terrorist groups which are reportedly funded, directed, and controlled by ISIS and foreign terrorist organizations
- Glaring involvement and violation of Philippine sovereignty by US involvement and participation in the Marawi siege and possibly in other “counter-terror” campaigns in Mindanao
I’ve taken the liberty of uploading the original document. I hope you can find it useful. Special thanks to Kalinaw Mindanao for the report and organizing the NIHM, as well as all the volunteers, supporters and donors who made it happen.