NVC Reaches Out to Families Fleeing Armed Conflict in Himamaylan

NVC Reaches Out to Families Fleeing Armed Conflict in Himamaylan

Armed Conflict

Clashes between government forces and the NPA in Himamaylan, Negros Occidental began on October 6, 2022. Residents of the area began fleeing for their safety. To date, more than 5,000 individuals are seeking shelter in various make-shift evacuation centers–covered courts, schools, and churches. Residents who worry about their livelihood and homes hope to return soon. In the meantime, they must wait things out at the shelters to stay safe.

The Bitonga family (right) is one of many families seeking shelter at West Visayas University, Barangay Sara-et. Aljun, Sr. was harvesting in the cane fields when gunfire ensued, and he was nearly caught in the crossfire. His wife Chrismar had just returned home from the hospital 10 days before the family had to flee. The couple is no stranger to NVC as their youngest child, Aljun, Jr., was enrolled in the Mingo Meals Nutrition Program by Angat Buhay Foundation. The family did not have much time to grab many of their belongings when they fled. However, they made sure to bring Aljun, Jr.’s Mingo Meals with them.

Nutritional Support

The LGU has been very responsive to the situation but of course, the evacuees are understandably under a lot of stress. And stress places greater nutritional requirements on the body. Because of that, we made sure to bring Mingo Meals to the children at the evacuation centers. As of October 15, we delivered 10,964 Mingo Meals to a total of 12 evacuation centers. The Mingo was initially intended for children but of course, when the team saw how hungry and stressed the adults were, they gave the adults Mingo too. Some of the Mingo was prepared and served during our visits. The rest of the Mingo was left to be prepared and eaten in the coming days.

Helping Them Heal

Many people seeking shelters at the evacuation centers are feeling anxious and stressed. They are worried about their families, their homes and their livelihoods. Some adults even broke down in tears. Just like the adults, the children are also feeling stressed and anxious too, and we worry that this traumatic experience so early in life will leave a deep scar.

On October 13, 100 ‘passengers’ rode along with the boxes of Mingo when we visited the evacuation centers. SM City Bacolod had given us 100 new teddy bears to distribute to the children who had to flee their homes. Hugging the bears tight helped some of the children deal with their fears and anxiety. As generous as the donation was, it was unfortunately not enough to service all the children who needed help. Thankfully, the pictures of the bears posted on our Facebook wall prompted kind souls to donate their gently-loved stuffed toys. In addition to over two hundred stuffed toys, we also received donations of crayons. We used the crayons for play therapy through art. We hope the art therapy and the stuffed toys help the children cope a better with the situation they’re going through.

Left: Teddy bears from SM City Bacolod.
Above: Toys from private donors.


Above: Donated art materials were used to conduct art therapy sessions at the various evacuation centers.

Update: Ceasefire

Thankfully, by the last week of October, families were finally able to return home safely. This traumatic experience has left some deep scars for many of the children and adults. We thank everyone who helped us make things a little bit easier for these families while they were at the evacuation centers.

Chief Nurse Lorena Badajos, one of our Mingo Meal Nutrition Program partners volunteered to help prepare Mingo Meals on site.



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    St. Vincent’s Village, Brgy. Tangub
    Bacolod City, Philippines