MANILA - Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr. has ordered key shelter agencies to use their gender and development (GAD) funds to help women and children affected by the conflict in Marawi City.
"Acknowledging that the physical rebuilding of homes and structures will take time to ensure effective and responsive shelter interventions, it was agreed that Shelter Agencies will take initial and immediate steps to alleviate the plight of Marawi residents living in evacuation centers. To achieve this, the funds allocated for Gender and Development (GAD) from each agency will be mobilized to address the particular needs of women affected by the conflict," a statement from Evasco's office said.
Key shelter agencies under the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) include the National Housing Authority, Social Housing Finance Corporation, Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-Ibig Fund), Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board, Home Guarantee Corporation, and National Home Mortgage Corporation.
Evasco instructed said agencies to find a way to reallocate half of their current GAD funds and unutilized GAD budget from previous years to provide for the needs of women, which may include hygiene kits and psychosocial support services.
Republic Act 9710, or the Magna Carta of Women, mandates government agencies to allot at least five percent of its total budget for GAD programs addressing gender issues and concerns.
More than 200,000 residents have fled their homes since firefights erupted between government troops and Islamic State-linked terror groups on May 23.
But hundreds are still trapped in the war zone as air strikes and ground assaults pounded the Marawi.
As of June 29, the battle for the control of the lakeside city has left 82 government troops and 44 civilians dead.
At least 303 terrorists were killed but dozens remain holed up in the city's inner enclaves.
[MORE STORIES: Battle for Marawi]