NDCC braces for possible mass evacuation in Sulu

MANILA, Philippines – The National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) on Wednesday said it was on the alert for a possible mass evacuation in case government forces mount a full-scale rescue operations for three Red Cross workers in Sulu.

NDCC deputy administrator Anthony Golez was quoted in a radio report as saying that the NDCC through its provincial unit in Sulu has already been drawing up contingency plans for any possible mass evacuation in the province.

Golez assured that the government is prepared to accommodate villagers who would choose to leave their homes.

He added that they have been coordinating with the local government of Sulu even before a state of emergency was hoisted across the island province Tuesday afternoon.

The state of emergency was placed around 2 p.m. Tuesday, when the Abu Sayyaf deadline for a full military pullout lapsed.

Military officials in Sulu earlier said that after the deadline expired, troops who had been earlier pulled out from the cordoned area were deployed anew. Police and civil emergency forces were also earlier pulled out in hopes of securing the release of at least one hostage.

The radio report quoted local officials in Sulu as saying that despite the military redeployment, the local government – and not the police or the military – is still in control of the province.

With a state of emergency, military checkpoints and chokepoints have already been set up in major roads in the province. A curfew has also been set in place, although the implementation of which would depend on the discretion of the respective mayors.

Golez said that aside from Sulu, the government is also monitoring peace situations in other parts of southern Philippines like central Mindanao, where “terrorist threats” remain.

It will be remembered that factions of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) sowed fear in the region when they temporarily occupied several villages in a number of provinces there.


Published in: on April 1, 2009 at 12:51 pm  Comments Off on NDCC braces for possible mass evacuation in Sulu  
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