ZABIDA peace building inaugurated PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 06 January 2013 00:00

Last December 21, 2012, the Zamboanga-Basilan Integrated Development, Inc. (ZABIDA) finally found a permanent home and inaugurated its own building at Suterville, Zamboanga City, after renting office space for years. ZABIDA is a consortium of 4 active local non-government organizations composed of Peace Advocates Zamboanga (PAZ), Katilingban Para sa Kalambuan, Inc. (KKI),  Reach Out to Others Foundation (ROOF), and Basilan-based Nagdilaab Foundation, Inc. (NFI).

A non-stock and a non-profit organization, ZABIDA was established in February 2007 by Fr. Calvo and six other local personalities to implement a Manos Unidas program called, “Convenio,” to uplift the quality of life of disadvantaged sectors of Zamboanga City and in Basilan. It is the first Convenio approved by the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation (AECI) and Manos Unidas, the Spanish Executing NGO in the Philippines.

Through it, the four NGO partners have since collaborated in such projects as teaching organic farming to farmers, micro-lending and livelihood training and production, coastal resource conservation, women support and community organization good governance practices, health and water systems, shelter of trafficked and street children, peace-building and advocacy, and other special concerns.

The newly constructed one-story building is dedicated to the poor and marginalized people in the city and region whose upliftment and welfare form the mission of ZABIDA, said consortium president Fr. Angel Calvo. This building stands as a symbol of the enduring partnership between ZABIDA and the people it serves in their shared vision to achieve peace and development, he added.

The P5-million structure was funded by the Agencia Espanola de Cooperacion Internacional para Desarollo (AECID), which has also been extending financial support to most of ZABIDA’S projects in the last six years, along with the Spanish foundation Manos Unidas.

Joint blessing of prayers for the building were rendered by Muslim civil society leader Jaafar Kimpa, Zamboanga Fellowship Ministry president Atty. Paul Ersando and Fr. Calvo, who are the lead convenors of the Inter-Religious Solidarity Movement for Peace (IRSMP), whose secretariat is PAZ (Peace Advocates Zamboanga).

After the inauguration ceremony, ZABIDA held its annual stakeholders’ forum with some 100 farmers and other community groups leaders attending. The main topic was the “National Year of Rice,” with discussions led by Department of Agriculture (DA) Regional Office Information Division Chief Melba Wee as the resource person. Part of its 2013 program,  ZABIDA will partner with DA to effect more positive changes in the communities it serve, ZABIDA Executive Director Espie Hupida announced.

By Dante Corteza