Beng dialogues with Sta. Catalina folks PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 16 October 2013 13:09

Mayor Beng Climaco yesterday spearheaded a consultation/dialogue with residents of Sta. Catalina and the neighboring barangays to clarify matters concerning ongoing clearing operations and rehabilitation efforts.

Accompanied by 102nd Brigade Commander Col. Ignacio Obligacion and City Planning and Development Coordinator Engr. Rodrigo Sicat and some other officials, Mayor Climaco answered queries fielded by the residents headed by Sta. Catalina barangay chairman Belman Malandi.

Sta. Catalina remains under clearing operations following the 23-day conflict between government troops and lawless elements affiliated with Nur Misuari. Residents have been prohibited from entering the area while the clearing operations are still ongoing.

Among the clarifications sought were the completion of clearing operations, when the residents can return, rehabilitation plans and the safety and protection of the residents’ properties among others.

Mayor Climaco, who heads the Crisis Management Committee (CMC) appealed to the residents to abide by the guidelines and policies set by the authorities as it is for their own safety and protection.

She also called on the residents to be thankful for all the efforts exerted by the military and the police who defended the city from the malefactors and who are in charge of the subsequent clearing operations.

Engr. Sicat said the preliminaries for the rehabilitation of the affected residents are well on its way with the listing and assessment done by the Land Housing and Management Division under Rodrigo Pagotaisidro.

He also clarified that the P3.8 billion funding allocated by President Aquino for the rehabilitation of Zamboanga will not pass through the local government but through national agencies such as the Department of Social welfare and Development, Department of Public Works and Highways and the National Food Authority.

The city’s role, he said, is to prepare the preliminaries to include the identification of sites for the construction of temporary shelters for the victims particularly those whose houses were burned and or destroyed at the height of the conflict.

Col. Obligacion, for his part allayed people’s apprehensions that the authorities are giving them a run-around when it comes to requests for them to briefly check on their belongings back home.

He said proper procedures are being followed and that he cannot, at his level, decide on whether or not to allow residents to check on their houses as clearance has to be secured from those in charge of the clearing operations and the CMC in general.

Nevertheless, Mayor Climaco suggested that the ground troops, with clearance from concerned authorities, allow residents to take a brief look at their properties, by batches.

The mayor proceeded to Sta. Catalina for the dialogue after joining the Muslim community in a prayer ceremony in celebration of Eid’l Adha at the Joaquin Enriquez Memorial Sports Complex in Baliwasan early yesterday morning. — Sheila Covarrubias