Beng tells UN team: There is still fear of being attacked PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 19 March 2014 13:15

Mayor Beng Climaco has bluntly told the United Nations teams currently helping Zamboanga City in its recovery and rehabilitation efforts that “there is still fear in the community of being attacked and the trauma is really here even up to this moment.”

In her message during the Zamboanga Action Plan (ZAP) Revision Workshop yesterday morning at the Garden Orchid Hotel, Mayor Climaco lamented that because of the fear and the trauma that the people had experienced during the September siege some communities or barangays do not welcome the relocation of internally displaced persons (IDPs) or evacuees to their areas.

“(But) the President and even the heads of agencies in Manila want to see concrete movement by the end of this month and we are trying to move the best way we can,” Climaco said, explaining that the relocation of IDPs from the main evacuation centers at Baliwasan Grandstand and Cawa-Cawa shorelines to the safer and more livable transitory sites has to be carried out with utmost cultural sensitivity.

In the meantime, Climaco said, the city government in coordination with all other agencies has to contend with the many challenges in providing continued assistance to the IDPs, pending their transfer to permanent homes that have yet to be constructed by the National Housing Authority (NHA) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

She cited such challenges and priorities as the provision of nutritious food for children, mothers and pregnant women; sustainable livelihood where the IDPs are and where they may be relocated; shelters that are safer and livable; health that would address acute and chronic malnutrition; education, that is to construct additional classrooms this summer vacation, and; security in transitory sites.

The lady chief executive clarified that the local government’s response from recovery to rehabilitation efforts is the development of transitory sites and approval of housing plan, taking into consideration the land title holders, the house renters and sharers or the informal settlers.

She also cited the need for additional funds hopefully from outside sources or donors for the informal settlers, the renters and the sharers because the P2.566 billion that has been downloaded to the NHA and DPWH is barely enough for construction of home and others facilities for the title holders.

According to her, the monetary donations amounting to P19 million is being spent for dislodging of latrines and other services. “The P3.9 billion committed by the President does not go to the city coffers but to NHA and DPWH,” she pointed out.

Meanwhile, Climaco thanked the UN team and other agencies for helping the city in its recovery efforts. “We would not have made it without all of you, whose dedication beyond the wee hours of the flooded nights and stringent monitoring has kept us organized.”

“As we enter the next phase of recovery to rehab, we hope to hurdle the challenges each phase brings. We are happy to see smiles on people’s faces as they resiliently face the problems. With God’s grace and your extended help, we can really build back a better Zamboanga for our people so that our children can indeed have a better future,” Climaco concluded.

After her speech, the mayor personally guided the visiting UN delegates headed by UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Luiza Carvalho to a tour of the ground zero in Mariki and Rio Hondo.

Carvalho for her part shared her big admiration for Mayor Climaco, especially in the way she’s running the response.

“We can feel that you are not only providing a fair management but you are also providing a management where the most vulnerable can really access more opportunities. That’s the biggest challenge of a politician,” Carvalho said of Climaco.

Carvalho said being a politician is very difficult because the government has to exercise a function which is not only fair with everybody but to diminish inequalities; otherwise the opportunities are not fair to everybody. “They will not be fulfilling their role in the best way possible.”

“This is something that we appreciate in Mayor Beng because she knows and she acknowledges that this is her role. Since the very beginning, we never felt that the Badjaos were not looked after the way they should. We never felt insecure that the many people affected by the crisis could go to a process that they could be worth than they were, or not well attended throughout this process,” the UN official said. — Vic Larato