Government to give Ramadan cash, food to displaced persons
Residents who left their homes to avoid the intense fighting between the government forces and insurgents from the Maute group, who have taken over parts of Marawi city, are seen inside the evacuation centre in Iligan city, southern Philippines June 18, 2017. Reuters

The Philippine government is beginning to worry on how to manage the growing number of evacuees in different evacuation centers in the Southern Philippines caused by the armed conflict in Marawi.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) reported that the number of evacuees registered have ballooned to 80,000 families and still growing.

Aside from the overcrowded evacuation centers, the DSWD staff are also having challenges in the communication and language because most of the evacuees prefer to speak Maranao, the local dialect , instead of Tagalog the national language.

DSWD Undersecretary Hope Hervilla said that they only have few personnel who can speak Maranao and the language barrier can sometimes lead to misunderstanding

Adding to this difficulty is that some evacuees refused to register at the evacuation center but would like to avail of the services in government-supported evacuation centers.

There were also reports that some unscrupulous persons are pretending to be evacuees so they can avail of free food packs from the government.

There are already at least 80 evacuation centers established in region X since the war broke out and 90 percent of evacuees chose to stay in their relatives or friends houses, but still the evacuation centers were not enough to accommodate the growing number of non-home-based evacuees.

Hervilla said that despite the number of tents being set up in identification centers, the DSWD could not still accommodate everyone.

Most displaced civilians belong to the Maranao tribe who are known of their pride of being self-reliant and self sufficient and seeking help from other people is offensive to their dignity but according to DSWD officials the displaced civilians have set aside their traditional pride and chose to seek assistance from the government.