12 Nov. 2022 | Ungkaya Pukan, Basilan
Chairperson Bainon Karon has directed the Basilan Commissioner Faija Taalil and the Basilan Office to conduct monitoring and assess the status of the affected individuals, particularly the women and children caught in the conflict between the MILF and the military.
To get a thorough picture of the situation in the area, the Commission interviewed Mr. Jahrad A. Hudjata, the secretary of Barangay Ulitan in the Municipality of Ungkaya Pukan. Additionally, some of the women were also interviewed who happened to be current members of the Social Welfare Committee and residents of the area where the very center of the fighting is taking place.
The Mujahideen have now returned to their respective locations after both parties signed a peace accord, allowing the affected residents to return to their homes. However, not a single family has made a decision to return due to the fear that conflict would erupt again because the soldiers’ numbers have been augmented, and are currently camped inside the area.
Despite the ceasefire, the BWC monitoring team was not permitted to approach the area as it is not yet secure. Six (6) barangays in all are impacted, including Materling, Tong Bato, Bohe Pahu, Bohe Suyak, and Sungkayut, all of which are near to Ulitan, the barangay with the worst damage (with more than 50 houses pierced and destroyed by bullets that hit from both sides), which is in the Municipality of Ungkaya Pukan. Total numbers of affected and evacuated women are currently being compiled by officials.
The BWC-Basilan office took time to bring some chocolates in addition to small prizes for winning a straightforward game for the displaced children, helping them to temporarily forget the nightmare of being stuck in the two warring forces. Right now, they are appealing for assistance due to the fact that there is nothing left in their house.