by Keith Kristoffer Bacongco, Panglantaw Mindanao

 

An undetermined number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) from different parts of Mindanao – referred to colloquially as ‘bakwit’, from the verb ‘evacuate’ – have not returned to their homes years after they sought refuge from the war. Local officials say at least 8,000 families of IDPs are now living in Pikit, North Cotabato, a marshy town of 96,000 people. Although housed in cramped, makeshift dwellings, the bakwits in Pitik refuse to return home. They fear getting caught again in the crossfires of war. [PM]