Western Mindanao Expansion

On 18 October, over 13,000 people fled intense fighting between rebels of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Philippine Armed Forces (AFP) near the town of Al-Barka on the island province of Basilan. They all sought refuge with relatives and friends, where they have also been provided with relief assistance by the government’s Department of Social Welfare and Development.

On 22 October, almost 23,000 people were displaced from five different municipalities of Zambonga Sibugay when the AFP launched airstrikes against what it considered renegade MILF groups. Some 3,500 IDPs sought refuge in 11 evacuation centres, while 19,000 others opted to stay with friends and family. As of 9 November, the number of people in evacuation centres had fallen to 1,500.

A total of nearly 34,000 people remained displaced on November 9, almost three weeks after separate armed incidents in Basilan and Zambonga Sibugay Provinces had forced them to flee.

Through the assistance of UNHCR, UNYPHIL-WOMEN was able to visit some of these conflict-affected communities, provided them with some hygiene kits and protection kits, and initially get to know the situation of the affected civilian population. It was reconfirmed that their locations are in high-risks areas for armed conflict, while people are at heightened protection risks due to lack of visibility to the protection agencies and humanitarian world. The areas which the organization was able to visit are the following:

Basilan Province:

  1. Bgy. Bohe Tambak, Tipo-Tipo
  2. Bgy. Limbu Upas, Tipo-Tipo
  3. Bgy. Cailih, Al-Barka
  4. Bgy. Cambug, Al-Barka
  5. Brgy. Guinanta, Al-Barka

 Zamboanga Sibugay Province:

  1. Bgy. San Roque, Payao
  2.  Bgy. Labatan, Payao
  3. Bgy. Balama, Payao
  4. Bgy. Minundas, Payao
  5. Bgy. Poblacion, Payao

Photos during Assessment and Monitoring in Western Mindanao

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