Gov't to give cash aid, food packs to Marawi evacuees as Eid'l Fitr nears

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 22) — Muslim evacuees from Marawi will receive cash and halal food items in time to celebrate the end of Ramadan, said Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo on Thursday.

The food packs for Eid'l Fitr, designated as "Ramadan packs" will be distributed Monday, said Taguiwalo. June 26 marks the end of the holy month of fasting known as Ramadan.

Taguiwalo said P1,000 in cash was given to each family for food to break the fast with at the end of the day.

The food packs—which include halal meat products, instant noodle packs and fruit cocktails--are prepared keeping in mind Islamic tradition.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development has spent over P294 million in cash assistance and food and non-food items for the evacuees.

According to the DSWD, 73,945 families have been displaced by the battle in Marawi City, with 2,453 families taking shelter in 10 evacuation centers. Most of the families who fled the fighting are staying with relatives in areas far from the battle zone.

Read more: Duterte to Marawi evacuees: I am sorry this happened to you

When the fighting is over and it is safe to do so, another P4,000 will be given to each of the families "to help them start anew," Taguiwalo said.

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella reported around 1,645 civilians rescued from ground zero.

Eight more terrorists were killed, bringing their number of dead to 276, while government has reported 67 dead among its forces.

Tents as temporary shelters

On top of the  P4,000, Taguiwalo said displaced families in the evacuation centers will each be given family-sized tents instead of the emergency shelter assistance fund.

"We have started the procurement three weeks ago in preparation for the return of our evacuees to Marawi City and we hope to provide individual tents per families," she said.

Each tent, which can house eight people, will have windows and proper ventilation.

Bidding for the tents failed on Wednesday, but Taguiwalo said they are fast-tracking the process.

"Naghahanda ho ang DSWD, nagpo-procure tayo pero kung may willing hong magbigayAng hinihingi ho natin 'yung malalaki na tents, hindi 'yung maliliit," Taguiwalo said.

[Translation: DSWD is preparing, we're procuring but if anyone is willing to give, we're asking for large tents, not the small ones."]

President Rodrigo Duterte has announced a P20 billion allocation for the rehabilitation of destroyed areas in Marawi City.

Do more than #PrayforMarawi: Where to donate

Unaffected by CA bypass

Taguiwalo said she did not encounter any problems with the relief operations despite being left hanging by the Commission on Appointments (CA).

"Wala akong pinoproblema, 'no. So siguro 'yung mamomoroblema doon 'yung mga pinirmahan ko na appointments, kung meron," she said.

[Translation: I don't have any problems. Maybe, people would just have problems over the appointments I signed, if there are any.]

She said she serves "at the pleasure of the President," and communicates with Special Assistant to the President Bong Go for any needs for the evacuees.

The Social Welfare Secretary, Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial and Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano were bypassed by the CA last June 2.

Read more: Taguiwalo: Postponement of confirmation 'a kind of torture'