Our humanitarian action in the Philippines (January-May 2016)

07 July 2016
Our humanitarian action in the Philippines (January-May 2016)
Natural disasters – such as the recent drought – made life difficult for remote communities affected by the internal armed conflict. CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / Lany dela Cruz

In central Mindanao and in the Sulu archipelago, fighting between government security forces and armed opposition groups led to temporary displacement of thousands of civilians. Meanwhile, sporadic hostilities continued between government security forces and the New People's Army in eastern Mindanao, leading to the protracted displacement of civilians; while pockets of clashes also occurred in parts of southern Luzon and Visayas regions.

"Families who flee from their homes again and again will not have stability in their lives. This remains a constant concern for us, as are the substantial number of people who are wounded by the fighting or by explosions in civilian areas," said Pascal Porchet, head of the ICRC delegation to the Philippines.

Another humanitarian concern for the ICRC is the alarmingly high national jail congestion rate that is adversely affecting the life and dignity of thousands of people awaiting or undergoing their trials. "Despite the multisectoral efforts we've seen to decongest the jails, the impact to the overall jail situation remains limited," Porchet stressed.

Assisting people displaced by conflicts and violence

  • More than 16,000 people displaced by armed clashes in North Cotabato and Maguindanao maintained their food needs through one-month food rations
  • More than 22,000 displaced people and residents in Maguindanao had access to potable water and sanitation facilities in evacuation centers
  • Some 2,400 displaced people in Tandag, Surigao del Sur, benefited from food and hygiene items
  • About 300 people from Bukidnon and Davao del Norte who fled to the Haran compound in Davao improved their living conditions after receiving kitchen sets, while approximately 1,500 displaced people received potable water through ICRC emergency water installation
  • Over 460 people from displaced families in Zamboanga City upgraded their employability after attending vocational trainings
  • Nearly 3,000 people in conflict-affected areas of Northern Samar improved their agriculture productivity after receiving 14 rice threshers

Providing quality care for weapon-wounded people

  • At least 375 people wounded by weapons were treated in ICRC-supported health facilities in Mindanao. Forty-two of them benefited from ICRC financial support while 26 patients benefited from PRC's blood services
  • 180 people, 57 of them injured by weapons, received physical rehabilitation services through the ICRCsupported Davao Jubilee Foundation. Six amputees benefited from vocational training while two minors were supported in their education
  • Emergency rooms of 7 hospitals in Mindanao received regular support consisting of medicines and medical materials, while 21 hospitals and health services received ad hoc donations to cope with the influx of patients following clashes
  • 168 health staff in Basilan and Sulu underwent Basic Life Support trainings conducted by the ICRC and the Department of Health

Helping communities hit by disaster and conflict, with the Philippine Red Cross

  • Around 27,700 people affected by drought and living in conflict areas in North Cotabato received food and hygiene items
  • Some 41,000 people were given food and vegetable seeds; 13,400 people received unconditional cash grants for livelihood; and nearly 3,800 were paid wages through cash for work projects in upland and coastal communities hit by Typhoon Melor (Nona) in Southern Luzon and Northern Samar
  • Nearly 900 volunteers in 16 PRC chapters in conflict- and disaster-prone areas were trained in first aid, dissemination, disaster risk reduction and restoring family links

Working with authorities to address jail congestion and its consequences

  • Out of the 550 inmates in Manila City Jail followed by the Supreme Court-led Task Force Katarungan at Kalayaan (Justice and Freedom) since January 2014, only 147 remained in jail by January 2016 awaiting the conclusion of their trials. This shows that once the Task Force reviews a detainee's case, it will be disposed of by the court substantially faster than the average period
  • Nearly 9,800 inmates have undergone tuberculosis mass screening in the two pilot sites – New Bilibid Prison and Quezon City Jail – since the beginning of the year, with 474 cases of TB being notified including 43 having multi-drug resistant TB
  • Living conditions improved for about 500 inmates of Naga City Jail following renovation or construction projects for the kitchen, water supply system, sanitation facilities and sunning area. The installation of a fuel-efficient rice hull gasifier stove improved kitchen conditions and operations through significant reductions in rice wastage and smoke emission

The increasing number of people in pre-trial detention presents a major challenge to ongoing decongestion initiatives by stakeholders, including the ICRC. CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / Von Gustilo

Visiting people detained in relation to the conflict and facilitating family visits

  • Detainees in 50 facilities were visited by ICRC staff, who monitored their treatment and living conditions, paying particular attention to the most vulnerable
  • 208 detainees were visited by their relatives through the ICRC family visit program, with support from the Philippine Red Cross

Promoting awareness of and respect for international humanitarian law

  • Around 860 military and police officers and 38 members of the Moro National Liberation Front became more familiar with IHL, human rights and/or humanitarian principles in armed conflict
  • Two police training institutions – the Philippine National Police Academy and the Philippine Public Safety College – have integrated IHL into their curriculum as part of efforts to enhance the knowledge of police officers on this subject

 

ICRC in the Philippines' facts and figures (January-May 2016)