Canada sends more humanitarian assistance to conflict areas in Mindanao

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 14 June) – The Government of Canada announced it is providing additional Cad$ 1.25 million (approximately PhP 43.75 million at P35 to one Cad$) in humanitarian assistance to support those living in conflict areas in Mindanao.

The announcement came a day after Robert Hall, the second Canadian national held captive by the Abu Sayyaf since September last year, was executed in Sulu on June 13. Two months earlier, mining executive John Ridsdel, who was kidnapped along with Hall, a Norwegian national and Hall’s Filipina partner from a resort in the Island Garden City of Samal, was executed on April 25.

The Embassy of Canada in Manila in a press statement on June 14 announced that the additional funding will be provided to Action Against Hunger (ACF) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and “will contribute to improved food security, health, living conditions, livelihoods and emergency-preparedness in Zamboanga and Maguindanao.”

Cad$ 500,000 (approximately PhP 17.5 million) will be provided to the ACF to improve food security for more than 3,000 people displaced by conflict in Zamboanga and Maguindanao. “This will include the provision of unconditional cash grants to meet their basic needs, focusing on assisting pregnant and lactating women and households with children aged 6 to 23 months, and provision of quick impact livelihood support through cash transfers and the appropriate training,” the press release from the Embassy said.

For the ICRC, the Canadian government is giving Cad$ 750,000 (approximately PhP 26.25 milion) to provide “medical care and physical rehabilitation to detainees and weapon-wounded patients through six ICRC-trained/supported health facilities, and non-food items to up to 160,000 and food items to up to 50,000 conflict/violence-affected people.”

It will also ensure emergency water and sanitation services to up to 33,000 conflict/violence-affected people, cash grants to up to 12,500 conflict/violence-affected people and livelihood inputs to up to 25,000 conflict/violence-affected people, the press release said.

The funding forms part of the Canadian government’s commitment of Cad$ 331.5 million in humanitarian support to the world’s most vulnerable, recently announced by Canada’s Minister of International Development Marie-Claude Bibeau at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey.

Canada’s ambassador to the Philippines Neil Reeder said his government’s support “will help meet immediate life-saving needs and address unprecedented humanitarian challenges including those in the Philippines.”

This new funding will help the most vulnerable in more than 32 countries, including the Philippines.

Reeder said that given the size of current humanitarian needs, Canada is committed to working with all partners—including those at the local level – “to combine our strengths and maximize the impact we have on humanitarian crises.”

He said they are especially concerned with women and girls, who are often the most vulnerable in crises.

ACF International country director Javad Amoozegar said the assistance is another significant step in lifesaving and humanitarian assistance especially to conflict-affected people in Zamboanga and Maguindanao. “This makes Canada’s support very unique and strategic in such a critical situation,” Amoozegar said. (MindaNews)