Manila: The number of people displaced due to clashes between the military and Muslim rebels in southern Philippines has increased to 10,000, an official said Tuesday.
The Philippine government has put up 13 evacuation centres and is ready to provide more as the number of displaced families has ballooned, Xinhua reported citing deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte.
Valte said the government has opened four evacuation centres in north Cotabato for the families that have been displaced by the fighting between the government troops and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), a breakaway group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MIlF).
But because of the increasing number of people affected by the hostilities, she said the government has set up additional evacuation centres bringing their total number to 13.
The evacuation centres, located in Pikit, north Cotabato, now house some 1,197 families or 5,985 people, she added.
Valte pegged the total number of displaced families to 2,122 or 10,610 people. Half of the initial 2,122 have sought refuge with friends and relatives, she said.
The BIFF was one of the three groups being eyed by the government behind the spate of bombings in southern Philippines in recent weeks.