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Friday, July 10, 2009

Chiz urges Palace to divert imported rice to Mindanao refugees

Opposition Sen. Chiz Escudero yesterday said the government should act immediately to divert shipments of imported rice to central Mindanao so that the 380,000 refugees in evacuation centers won't go hungry after a UN agency halted its food relief operations in the region.

"We are faced with a humanitarian crisis that could become a disaster if this administration fails to act quickly to fill in the gap left by the UN World Food Program," Escudero.

"Part of the rice we have been shipping in from abroad can be diverted to the ports of General Santos and Cotabato City. This will not make a dent in the NFA's 82-day buffer stock," he said.

He also called on the government to ensure the safety of the staff of the UN agency which suspended its program on Wednesday after a series of bombings in Cotabato and Iligan cities that killed six and wounded dozens of other people.

At the same time, Escudero reiterated his call for the resumption of talks between the government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) even as he condemned the brutal terrorist attacks which have mostly killed civilians.

"We are now reaping the results of a failed peace policy. The old ways of thinking have not worked. Perhaps it is time for the people to find novel ways to stop the bloodletting," he said.

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