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 government is expected to provide cash assistance and other food items to Muslim families, who fled their homes from the Marawi armed conflict and eventually settled in evacuation centers in nearby towns.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will spearhead this assistance to support Muslim families who are expected to observe the Ramadan Muslim tradition.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim year where Islam faithfuls observe strict fasting from morning to late afternoon.

DSWD Minister Judy Taguiwalo said that each family is expected to receive USD 20.00 so that they can buy food they need to eat for the breaking of the Ramadan fast.

Taguiwalo also said that her social welfare officers have assembled food packs such as friend noodles and fruit salad because these types of food have often been part of Muslim traditions and individually displaced persons who are Muslims will still be able to observe Ramadan tradition even in evacuation centers.

The DSWD also said that the amount USD 81 will also be given to each family when they return back to their respective homes in Marawi City.

The Philippine government reported that 300,000 residents fled Marawi when the firefight broke between Philippine soldiers and armed militants of Maute Group in May 23. As the battle enters its fourth month, it is not yet clear as to when the armed conflict would end.

More than 300 soldiers and militants already have been killed as the government continue to use aircrafts to launch airstrikes in rebel positions. The Philippine military also sought the assistance of the US special forces to assist them in technical assistance and intelligence gathering which the Department of National Defense admitted that the Philippines does not have the capability at the moment.