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All-Out Offensive VS BIFF Turns Maguindanao into a War Zone –PCNURP

The People’s Council for National Unity, Reforms and Peace (PCNURP) on Saturday said that the ongoing military operations against the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) have turned communities in affected areas in central Mindanao into a war zone.

PCNURP maintained that all-out war is not the solution to the conflict in Mindanao, pointing out that communities suffer the consequences of such offensive.

The group noted that at least 73,000 people have been displaced from their homes and are now staying in evacuation centers since the offensive commenced on Feb. 25.

This number represents at least 14,517 families in 11 towns.

PCNURP also cited allegations of Suara Bangsamoro and KAWAGIB Moro Human Rights Alliance that government troops employ indiscriminate firing and bombing.

According to the group, the military has launched heavy artillery and aerial attacks on the towns of Salbo, Pagatin, Mamasapano and Shariff Aguak, forcing residents to flee their homes and evacuate to safer ground.

They also said that extending the military operations for three more days resulted to more people fleeing for safety, consequently augmenting government spending on evacuation.

In an report, regional humanitarian response agency Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao’s Humanitarian Emergency Action and Response Team (ARMM-HEART) said that the government spends 2 million pesos a day to provide evacuees’ needs.

Of this, around 1.9 million is spent for food supply. The total cost does not include logistical and operational expenses.

PCNURP is now asking the government to extend more humanitarian assistance to affected areas.