9th Info caravan visits Don GEMS PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 16 May 2014 11:39

After meeting with barangay officials and other stakeholders, the Information Caravan made its way back to the evacuation centers, and on Tuesday, May 15, engaged with the internally displaced persons (IDPs) at the Don Gregorio Evangelista Memorial School (Don GEMS) as part of the City Government’s ongoing advocacy to combat misinformation and disseminate correct, validated, and timely facts.

Despite being the smallest evacuation center at 132 individuals, the 9th information caravan nevertheless remained the same, bringing with it the full strength of the rehabilitation team currently composed of the City Government, the National Housing Authority (NHA), the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and the different humanitarian partners.

Also present were the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), who set up the information desk for the program on Overseas Employment Facilitation for IDPs, and the Philippine Toy Library (PTL) Zamboanga Team, who gave out toys and school supplies to kids in a separate activity.

As with all previous caravans, the information drive kicked off with the latest reports on the rehabilitation efforts, touching on subjects such as housing, both temporary and permanent, social services and livelihood opportunities, and the status of IDP movement to the bunkhouses-on-stilts in Masepla.

An open forum followed the presentations. The opportunity allowed IDPs to have their questions answered, and all 30 participants present were reassured that all of them are part of the rehabilitation efforts. Speaking in Tausug, NHA Zamboanga head Engr. Al Indanan assured that while the houses and other construction for rehabilitation will take time to complete, each and every IDP will be able to go back to homes and communities that will be better and safer.

“Hindi tayo pababayaan ng gobierno dahil kayo rin ang ating pag-asa. Kayo rin ang kabahagi ng gobyerno para maayos ang ating mga komunidad,” added DSWD’s Elizabeth Dy.

Furthermore, IDPs were enjoined not to be blindsided by gossips and rumors, and to channel whatever concern or inquiry they have to the proper authorities such as their Camp Managers, the City Government, and the national agencies involved.

The Information Caravan series is spearheaded by the City Government together with the Communications Working Group (CWG) which is composed of the Public Information Division (PIO-CMO), Philippine Information Agency, Department of Social Welfare and Development, United Nations for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA), International Organization for Migration (IOM), other humanitarian organizations and the Philippine International Non-government organizations or PINGON and local implementing partners.

The Caravan will be wrapping up its run with the final information drive in the Taluksangay transitory site to be held sometime next week. — Jasmine Mohammadsali