COTABATO CITY – The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), through its Ministry of Health (MOH), has provided food and cash assistance to the casualties and affected families of the May 24 mortar shelling incident in Barangay Kitango, Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao on Saturday.
MOH-BARMM minister, Dr. Saffrullah Dipatuan gave PHP50,000 cash to the family of the two minors who died during the incident; PHP30,000 each to seven of the victims who were badly injured, and PHP5,000 each to nine individuals who sustained minor wounds.
All injured victims are currently confined at the Maguindanao Provincial Hospital in Datu Hoffer town and the Cotabato Regional and Medical Center in Cotabato City.
The hospitalization of the patients is also covered by the region’s AMBAG (Ayudang Medikal Mula sa Bangsamoro Government) project for them to be free of their medical expenses.
“BARMM chief minister Ahod “Murad” Ebrahim has directed each office of the region to do whatever it can to help. So now we are working together,” Dipatuan said.
Dipatuan said some of the patients need to undergo orthopedic surgery due to severe injury.
“Our religious leaders are also providing spiritual counseling to the victims,” he added.
Over 600 relief packs were distributed to the affected families in Kitango village through BARMM’s “Tulong Alay sa Bangsamorong Nangangailangan” (TABANG) project on Saturday.
Psycho-social activities for affected children and families were also conducted by BARMM’s Ministry of Social Services and Development (MSSD) in the village.
The MSSD also provided an undetermined amount of cash assistance to the family of the two minors who were killed and those injured.
It also distributed food packs to the 1,573 families or some 7,865 individuals who were forced to flee their homes from Kitango and the nearby villages of Dapiawan, Elian, and Kitango.
The BARMM’s Bangsamoro Women Commission (BWC) also visited Barangay Kitango to provide financial assistance and assess the situation of the women and children who are victims of the mortar shelling.
Early on, the BARMM government, with the help of the authorities, have started the conduct of investigation on the incident to give justice to the innocent victims.
On May 24, an 81-mm mortar projectile hit at least three houses in Kitango village that killed two minors and wounded scores others.
A parallel investigation on the incident has been launched by the military, which has been fighting off harassments launched by the Daesh-inspired Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in the interiors of the municipality.
The Army’s 6th Infantry Division, which includes Maguindanao in its area of responsibility in Central Mindanao, said it has not launched any offensives on the fateful day that coincided with the celebration of Eid’l Fitr, the end of the Muslims month-long fasting period of Ramadan. (PNA)