BRP Benguet (LT-507)
MANILA, Philippines – A ship of the Philippine Navy considered as a veteran in relief operations left Sangley Point in Cavite on Saturday for Zamboanga City, which was ravaged by the 20-day standoff between the military and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNL) faction of Nur Misuari.
Navy spokesman Lt. Commander Gregro Fabic said BRP Benguet (LT-507) will arrive in the port of Zamboanga City on October 7, Monday.
Fabic said the same ship was used by the Philippine Navy to ferry relief goods to Batanes, which was ravated by Typhoon “Odette” last week.
The ship is bringing to Zamboanga City relief goods including drinking water, canned goods, packed foods, medicines, clothing and blankets with an estimated 391 tons of cargoes.
“The PN since the conflict started has been constant in helping the city’s struggle in ending up the conflict and heal itself from the torments. During the crisis, the PN has been active in providing naval blockade to help prevent the further escalation and spread of the conflict. Also, relief goods were able to be delivered through PN vessels which provide security and safe passage for timely delivery,” Fabic stressed.
“Once again, the Philippine Navy is committed to help Zamboanga rebuild itself and provide assistance in whatever the endeavor may demand,” he added.
After failing to carry out their original plan to march to the Zamboanga City hall and hoist their flag, rebel forces led by MNLF commander Habier Malik infiltrated at least five barangays and took dozens of its residents hostage.
As government troops advance to the occupied villages, the rebels torched thousands of houses and fired at the firefighthers to prevent them from putting out the blaze.
The government reported that more than 10,000 houses were burned by the rebels during their 20-day occupation of the villages.
The situation in Zamboanga city and Basilan province, southern Philippines, and its surrounding areas is now a humanitarian crisis with an estimated 170,000 people affected. The violence has left approximately 208 people dead, with tens of thousands affected and over 10,000 homes destroyed. Continued humanitarian assistance is required to help these most vulnerable people.
To learn more about OCHA’s activities, please visit http://unocha.org/.
Tags: blankets, BRP Benguet, canned goods, clothing, drinking water, Habier Malik, Islamists, medicines, MNL, Moro National Liberation Front, Muslims, Nur Misuari, OCHA, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, packed foods, Philippine Navy, Philippines, relief supplies, Typhoon "Odette", United Nations, Zamboanga