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05 SEPTEMBER 2008
UN REAFFIRMS COMMITMENT TO PROVIDE HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE TO MINDANAO
MANILA--The United Nations has reaffirmed its support to the on-going efforts to end the conflict in Mindanao and provide humanitarian relief assistance to communities affected by the current hostilities in the region.
In a press statement issued Thursday, the office of the UN Resident Commissioner in the Philippines clarified that the reported "food blockade" in the province of Lanao del Norte was an isolated case "among a series of successful relief operations undertaken in the framework of the government of the Philippines-UN (GOP-UN) project Action for Conflict Transformation (CT) for Peace."
A news report datelined Koronadal City that appeared in the Philippine Daily Inquirer said that aid agencies in the area had accused the military of putting up food blockades.
The same report said that Brig. Gen. Jorge Segovia, acting chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) command center, denied the existence of food blockade.
"There was no food blockade. We want to ensure the safety of anybody involved in the relief operations. In fact, they can go through provided they have coordinated with the Disaster Coordinating Councils (DCCs) so that everything will run smoothly," the Inquirer reported, quoting Segovia.
This was confirmed by the UN statement, which said that it "has not experienced any difficulties or challenges in delivering food to the distribution centers. Dispatches of food support for displaced families have been unhampered amidst recent hostilities and increased security precautions being taken by UN staff and its cooperating partners," the UN statement said.
It added that the UN would continue to coordinate closely with the authorities at both the national and provincial levels in carrying out its humanitarian relief assistance, especially disaster coordinating councils and social welfare offices.
"The United Nations appreciates the continuous and proactive support of
the Philippine Government to humanitarian efforts in Mindanao and
understands the military's concern over the safety and security of
humanitarian relief workers," the statement added.
ELMER G. CATO Second Secretary & Press Officer Philippine Mission to the United Nations 556 Fifth Avenue, Fifth Floor New York, New York 10036 Tel. No. 212.764.1300 Extension 38
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