Tuesday, November 30, 2010

UN World Food Programme condemns shooting incidents in Lanao del Sur

MANILA, Philippines – In relation to recent media reports about a shooting incident, currently under investigation, involving a World Food Programme (WFP) contracted truck that was off-loading rice and mung beans for a WFP food-for-work distribution on Friday, November 26, in Barangay Maul, Marantao, Lanao del Sur, which resulted in the death of the truck driver’s assistant, the WFP Country Office in the Philippines would like to convey the following:

WFP strongly deplores this act of wanton violence that has led to the tragic and senseless loss of life of an individual who was assisting in the delivery of humanitarian assistance.

WFP, in partnership with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), has been providing food assistance to vulnerable populations displaced by the conflict in Mindanao since 2006, with relatively minimal security incidents compared to the scale of operations. The organization currently distributes approximately 2,000 tons of food a month, or an average of 100 truck deliveries per month, mainly for livelihood programmes targeted to food-insecure populations who were displaced by the upsurge in conflict in 2008/2009 and have now largely returned to their places of origin.

Delivering food assistance in conflict-affected areas entails managing risks that are well known to WFP, given its strong operational presence in volatile and insecure areas worldwide.

In addition to adhering to the United Nations’ standards of security in the implementation of its programmes in the Philippines, WFP coordinates routinely with the DSWD, concerned local government units, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and other stakeholders in order to continuously ensure the safety and security of all staff, including contracted staff, in its areas of operation.

WFP is working with all concerned government authorities who are investigating this incident and will share more information as it becomes available. As of presstime, based on the evidence on the ground, WFP is treating this incident as an isolated case, and will do everything possible to ensure that operations in Central Mindanao will not be hampered.

WFP staff are in touch with the family of the bereaved and are extending the necessary support in their time of grief.
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