Celso to Beng: Let’s be factual, truthful PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 11 April 2016 13:50

By DEXTER YAP

“Let us be factual and truthful. Let us not deceive our people”.

This was the strong message of Congressman Celso Lobregat to Mayor Beng Climaco-Salazar amidst the unending controversies in the Masepla transitory site which have already reached national government offices and are object of investigation.

Lobregat’s statement came after the mayor insisted in her campaign sorties the information on the construction of some 200 additional temporary shelters wasn’t right.

In the recent candidate’s public forum, Climaco said that Lobregat is using Masepla as a political issue.

“The Masepla issue is being used as a political issue, the 200 additional permanent housing units are for the untagged Samal and Badjao who were displaced during the siege and it’s not in Masepla,” Climaco said.

Climaco added that her administration together with the national government is doing all efforts to build back a better Zamboanga and let those victims of the 2013 siege to be back to their permanent shelters, as well as proper sanitation.

“I would like to make it clear, that the 200 permanent housing units I am referring to is the project of the Archdiocese of Zamboanga together with DFAT, it’s actually not in Masepla,” Climaco said.

After hearing the statement of Climaco, Lobregat presented the facts about the issue by pinpointing the signed and amended Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) entered into by the city government represented by Climaco and the barangay council of Mampang represented by Chairman Leonard Aliangan, wherein one of the provisions specifically in details explained about the construction of additional housing units in Masepla Transitory Site to be built by an NGO, the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Lobregat explained in details the alleged deception which supposed to take place in seeking the approval from the city council, wherein district 2 councilor Percival Ramos bared that there were irregularities in the actual situation onsite and the provisions of the proposed MOA.

Lobregat said that in one of the clauses of the amended MOA already signed by Climaco and Mampang chairman Aliangan, it states that the parties agreed to amend the June 05, 2014 MOA to cover the inclusion of additional single-detached core shelter/alternative transition shelters (ATS) to be funded by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

The said assistance aims to supplement the existing temporary structures/bunkhouses at the transitory site to accommodate as many IDP’s as possible.

“We were supposed to tell the truth, the truth is, the amended MOA that the city government asked the council for approval was for temporary shelter not by the Archdiocese of Zamboanga which is permanent, so let us put the issues and facts,” Lobregat said.

Citing the details of the amended MOA, Lobregat said that indeed the city government was asking for more temporary shelters to be built, only to find out that there were 400 houses that were un-occupied, 161 of those not occupied were demolished by the city government themselves.

“Why does the city government ask for more houses when they demolish the existing ones, a waste of people’s money,” Lobregat said.

Provision No.4 in the conditions of the amended MOA states that the IOM shall subsidize the cost for the labor/work to be done thereat, while the barangay on the other hand shall provide some of the laborers/workers who will work at the transitory relocation site for the construction of additional temporary bunkhouses and or single-detached core shelters subject to the supervision of authorized representatives from the city govt/IOM.

Provision No.5 indicates that the barangay will allow the entry and relocation of the IDP’s in the said 19-hectare lot , and shall, likewise authorize the construction of additional single-detached core shelters/alternative transition shelters and temporary bunkhouses therein.

The solon added that he himself as a public official agrees for the fast-tracking of the construction of permanent housing units for the victims of the siege in the city but the local government should be more aggressive in monitoring and pushing for the realization of these projects which are long overdue and for many times have a flexible deadline in years.

“Yes we should build back, not only better, we should build back the best, however, the permanent houses that have been turned over, there is no light, water and even no septic tank,” Lobregat said.

The solon said that if the LGU will not exert a more forceful and extreme serious focus in this matter, the agony of the internally displaced persons will prolong.  – Dexter Yap