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Franciscans conduct relief ops for Marawi evacuees

Franciscans conduct relief ops for Marawi evacuees

BALO-I, Lanao del Norte – Franciscans in this municipality conducted on May 30 a relief operation for a total of 710 families temporarily staying at the Gumampong Ali Cultural Center of this municipality.

In an interview with CBCPNews, Rev. Elton Viagedor, a newly-ordained deacon and who heads the relief operations, said, the congregation, through the support of the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (or JPIC) of the Province of San Pedro Bautista, was able to gather relief goods on May 27 in order to address the basic needs of the evacuees.

Other members of the Franciscan family in Iligan City (Third Order Regular Franciscans, Order of Franciscan Secular, and Franciscan Youth) helped in the repacking of relief goods.

The local government, through the leadership of Councilor Mohaimen Mokay A. Rasol, facilitated the distribution of the relief goods. Members of the relief team raised their concerns about the difficult condition of the “bakwits” (local term for evacuees) in the evacuation center.

Most of the children are in need of medical assistance and many are suffering from LBM, fever, and cough. Aside from food, clean water, mattresses, beddings, and medicine are badly needed.

Viagedor said, “Medical missions and psychological intervention for the affected families will also be conducted.”

In collaboration with some local Muslim families, the Franciscans are continuing relief operations in order to especially serve evacuees, who are staying temporarily in some of the residential houses of Balo-i.

After the Maute group attacked Marawi, thousands of civilians evacuated the city and sought refuge in nearby city of Iligan and other neighboring towns. Balo-i is only 18 kilometers from Marawi where the quasi-parish of San Vicente Ferrer, administered by OFM Franciscans, is located.

JPIC is an umbrella office of an important advocacy of the Franciscans, having a branch office in practically all Franciscan entities and religious families. It was started after Vatican II as a concrete response to issues in the world regarding justice, peace, and the environment. It has a secretariat in the United Nations in New York. CBCPNews