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article imageUN Halts Mindanao Aid Mission, Red Cross Stays Behind

By Ronel Pelovello     Jul 9, 2009 in Crime
While the terror bombings in Mindanao have forced a United Nation’s agency to temporarily suspend operations in the area, the Philippine National Red Cross said it will continue its service even in the danger zones.
UN World Food Program acting director Alghassim Wurie told a news agency Wednesday night that their head office in Geneva had told them to suspend for a week their operations in the area because of the bombing attacks.
In a statement, PNRC Chairman, Sen. Richard Gordon said Thursday that staff and volunteers of PNRC Cotabato, Iligan and Sulu Chapters are going on with their respective normal operations.
Cotabato, Iligan City and Jolo, Sulu bore the brunt of a wave of bombing attacks between Sunday and Tuesday, which resulted to the death of eight people and wounded more than 50 others.
“The situation here in Jolo is already stable. We visited victims of the recent bombing and those with minor injuries already went home. We continue with our normal day to day operation,” said PNRC Jolo, Sulu Chapter Officer-in-charge Algamir Dawili.
PNRC Iligan Chapter Administrator Genevieve Amodia said they had distributed medicines for victims of the blast in the city and proceeding with normal operations.
On the other hand, PNRC Cotabato Chapter has put its social workers on standby for possible deployment in hospitals to conduct stress debriefing or critical incident stress management when necessary.
PNRC Cotabato Chapter Officer-in-Charge Leopoldo Devilles II added that demand for blood is already stable. Still, neighboring chapters are alerted for possible assistance in terms of blood supply.
Meanwhile, Gordon condemned the recent bombing attacks in Mindanao.
“We cannot accept any ground to harm innocent civilians. In non-international armed conflict, violence to life and person are considered inhumane acts under the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) bill,” said Gordon.
PNRC Secretary General Gwendolyn Pang also appealed to the perpetrators of the bombing attacks to refrain from acts that would harm civilians and innocent children and to allow the Red Cross to continue with its humanitarian mission peacefully.
“Mindanao is in dire need of help and support. No other humanitarian organization, specifically during armed conflicts, can address their needs aside from Red Cross. So we do not have any other reason to stop our mission. We are appealing to the perpetrators, to stop their inhumane acts so that our staff and volunteers in Mindanao may work peacefully,” said Pang.
In view of the series of bloody bomb attacks, Pang directed all Red Cross chapters to take steps to ensure safety of all staff and volunteers in their respective areas.
“We will not stop serving humanity. Many programs are lined up for Mindanao and we are hoping that they will let our humanitarian workers continue their mission to alleviate the suffering of Filipinos everywhere,” Pang stressed.
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