Lanao del Sur distributes rice from Taiwan to Marawi evacuees

By John Unson

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Rice donated by the  Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation to conflict-affected residents of Lanao del Sur province. John Unson
LANAO DEL SUR, Philippines — The Lanao del Sur provincial government on Friday morning distributed to evacuees from Marawi City 3,250 bags of rice from Buddhists in Taiwan.
 
Lanao del Sur Gov. Soraya Alonto-Adiong said Friday the rice donation from the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation of Taiwan will be distributed to conflict-affected villagers staying in Balindong, Tugaya, Bacolod-Kalawi, Madalum, and Ganassi towns in the province.
 
The rice shipment from Taiwan arrived in the province early this week.
 
The May 23 to October 16, 2017 siege of Marawi City by combined Maute and Abu Sayyaf terrorists caused the displacement of no fewer than 300,000 villagers and left about half of its more than 90 barangays in ruins.
 
Alonto-Adiong said many of the evacuees were also badly affected by the flashfloods spawned by Tropical Storm Vinta that pummeled many areas of the Southern Philippines last December.
 
The governor, who presides over the Lanao del Sur disaster risk reduction and management group, said she is grateful to the Taiwanese Buddhist foundation for reaching out to her needy constituents.
 
“The gesture is appreciated enormously,” she said.
 
Alonto-Adiong said she is also thankful to the Humanitarian Emergency Assistance and Response Team of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao for helping her attend to the needs of the evacuees.
 
"Credit also has to go to the officials and field personnel of the Lanao del Sur Integrated Provincial Health Office for their commitment to continuously serve these communities," she said.
Infrastructure projects
The Lanao del Sur provincial government and the executive department of ARMM are working together on infrastructure projects needed to hasten the recovery of the province's predominantly Maranao population.
 
Provincial and ARMM officials launched on Wednesday the construction in Bubong town in Lanao del Sur of a market building. The P30-million project is being implemented by the regional, provincial and municipal governments.
 
ARMM’s regional chief executive, Gov. Mujiv Hataman, and Lanao del Sur Vice Gov. Mamintal Adiong, Jr. led Wednesday’s groundbreaking rite that marked the commencement of its construction.
 
Hataman and Adiong had separately urged during the event the residents of Bubong to support the project, designed to benefit market vendors and local farmers.
 
Hataman said socio-economic interventions are lasting remedies to domestic security issues, including the spread in Lanao del Sur of militant blocs claiming allegiance to the Islamic State and fomenting animosity to non-Muslims and to the government.
 
Hataman said the ARMM government is also improving the quality of education in far-flung areas to address illiteracy, also blamed for domestic security woes.

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