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Agusan del Norte evacuees start returning to their homes

By Ben Serrano,
Correspondent

BUTUAN City — Some 357 evacuees who fled their homes in Barangay Hinimbangan, Kitcharao, Agusan del Norte last March 15 early morning are now slowly returning in their respective homes, Hinimbangan Barangay Chairman Romy Gumila said.

In a mobile phone interview, Gumila told Gold Star Daily his constituents have started returning to their village after staying at the Kitcharao Municipal Gymnasium since early morning last Wednesday.

“They eagerly wanted to go home because they are worried of their homes left abandoned, their domesticated livestock, farms after they fled last March 15,” said Gumila.

The Army’s 2nd Lt. Ashley Mae Del Rosario, in separate mobile phone interview, also confirmed the evacuees are going back to their homes after the relief goods distribution over the weekend.

“Today, we are distributing family packs spearheaded by our Provincial Social Welfare Office and will be conducting psychosocial and stress debriefing to the affected families led by PDRRMO (Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office),” Governor Angel Amante-Matba’s text message reads.

Last Thursday, Amante-Matba personally distributed relief goods at the Kitcharao Municipal Gym to 357 evacuees mostly composed of elderly, women, and children.

Heavy fighting, skirmishes between New People’s Army rebels and the government forces, particularly the 29th Infantry Battalion in the Agusan del Norte and the 30th Infantry Battalion in the Surigao del Norte ensued for almost two weeks now which has caused evacuation of residents in Barangays Hinimbangan and Ombong in Alegria, Surigao del Norte.

In the military press statement,  2nd Lt. Ashley Mae Del Rosario, of the Army claimed NPA rebels attacked the communities in Barangay Hinimbangan, Kitcharao, Agusan del Norte forcing 89 families to flee their homes.

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About Ben Serrano

Ben Serrano covers Caraga for The Gold Star Daily, and is based in Butuan City.

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