CASH AID. Himamaylan City Mayor Rogelio Raymund Tongson Jr. (standing, left) speaks to residents of Barangay Carabalan affected by the series of armed encounters last month during the payout of financial assistance held at the village covered court on Thursday (Nov. 3, 2022). A total of 3,166 displaced families from two villages received PHP3,000 each from the Department of Social Welfare and Development. (Photo courtesy of Himamaylan CSWDO)

BACOLOD CITY – About 3,166 families displaced by the two-week clashes between government troops and communist rebels in Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental last month have been identified as recipients of the Armed Conflict Financial Assistance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Each family beneficiary received PHP3,000 cash during the two-day payout held until Friday.

“This assistance is for the Himamaylanon affected by the armed conflict and displaced for some time from their homes and livelihood,” the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) said in a statement.

The beneficiaries included 2,920 families in Barangay Carabalan, where the main encounter sites of Sitios Sig-ang and Medel are located, as well as 246 families in the adjacent Barangay Cabadiangan.

The payouts were held in Barangay Carabalan’s covered court and Sitio Tongo of Barangay Cabadiangan.

According to the CSWDO, the cash aid was sourced from the special funds of Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go coursed through the DSWD, as well as from the regular funds of the DSWD Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation program.

The assistance was requested by Mayor Rogelio Raymund Tongson Jr. during the visit of the DSWD 6 (Western Visayas) personnel, led by director Carmelo Nochete, to the southern Negros city when the displaced families were still staying in the evacuation centers.

More than 3,000 individuals had sought shelter in various evacuation sites after the series of encounters between troops of the Philippine Army’s 94th Infantry Battalion (94IB) and the Communist Party of the Philippines - New People’s Army started in Sitio Sig-ang on October 6.

On October 16, the first to return home were the evacuees from Sitios Palayan and Guia in Barangay Cabadiangan, as well as those from other sub-communities in Barangay Carabalan.

After the main encounter sites were cleared by the military, residents of Sitios Medel, Campaya, and Sig-ang were also allowed to go home on October 19.

The armed encounters killed Romeo Nanta, the commanding officer of the Regional Operational Command of the NPA’s Komiteng Rehiyon-Negros, as well as Corporals Christian Drilon and Rex Verde of the 94IB. (PNA)