"What this Country needs is not a change OF men but a change IN men" March 1980

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Red Cross to provide homes for 14 families in conflict

Philippine National Red Cross Chairman and Senator Richard Gordon is leading efforts to provide new homes to 14 families hardest hit by the fighting between government troops and Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters. The 14 families have had family members killed by suspected MILF fighters, who also burned their houses.

Gordon was in Lanao del Norte on Saturday to personally assess the situation as PNRC Chairman. The heart-wrenching stories told to Gordon by the victims of the conflict did not fall on deaf ears: Gordon has committed the presence of the PNRC in the area to continue helping all victims of the conflict, from civilians to soldiers to Muslim rebels.

Gordon has also coordinated with local officials to immediately start relocating the 14 families, providing for their needs in the face of their tragic loss, and rebuilding their homes. The greatest obstacle to their rehabilitation was the lack of land one which they could rebuild their houses. The lots on which their old homes stood did not belong to them.

Through the help of Gordon and former Lanao Councilor Anthony Labaro however, the 14 families were given their own land. Labaro made the land donation after he was told by Gordon about the 14 families' plight.

An agreement was quickly drawn up between the PNRC, Lanao Gov. Mohammad Khalid Dimaporo, Lanao del Norte 2nd District Congressman Bobby Dimaporo and MayorBertrand Lomaque to begin the housing project for the victims.

The beneficiaries include Rudelyn Sosima, whose husband and two-year-old daughter were killed by armed men, believed to be MILF fighters, who broke into their home.

Besides Rudelyn, other beneficiaries include Jessica Patarlas; Flora Porcare; Anita Lagura; Mateo Balasbas; Apolinario Laggam; Theodoro Capapas; Fortunato Amomonpon; Juana Amomonpon; Henry Balos; Patronilla Pabginwit; Wilima James Ichico; Geoffrey Dagwan; Emerita Bitasulao; Alexander Malaay; Francisco Sosimo, Jr.; Paulio Jumuwad; and Teodoro Jumuwad.

Most of the beneficiaries lost a parent, sibling or spouse in the fighting. All of their homes were burned to the ground.

Gordon said that the housing project is being undertaken in the name of peace and in defiance of the inhumanity of war. He added that building homes, an act of peace, will become a weapon against war.

"These homes will be built and they will be built through the cooperation between a community of Muslims and Christians. What evil has destroyed, goodness will build in defiance of violence. In this life-giving act of building we make our stand and we defy violence, using the bayanihan spirit of cooperation, respect and compassion between Muslims and Christians. Indeed only peaceful means will ultimately defeat war. We must win using peace in order to create a vibrant, progressive and peaceful Mindanao," said Gordon.

Gordon helps 14 Lanao Families rebuild homes amid war; says only peaceful means can defeat war


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