Beng cites importance of biosafety, biosecurity PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 06 December 2013 11:09

Amid the many challenges brought about by natural and man-made disasters, Mayor Beng Climaco yesterday cited the need for initiatives that would ensure biosafety and biosecurity “if we are to protect life from any forms of harm.”

Climaco made the statement during the opening of the 2nd National Symposium of the Philippine Biosafety and Biosecurity Association (PhBBA) at the Celebrity Hall of Grand Astoria Hotel yesterday morning.

The lady chief executive told the symposium participants mostly academicians, medical practitioners and security experts from different parts of the country that Zamboanga City as they may have know had its own share of challenges as a result of natural and human induced calamities this year.

The most recent and devastating of these was the 23-day siege last September when government forces unleashed their might in all possible terms against the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) rebels loyal to Nur Misuari.

Climaco lamented that Zamboanga city paid a high cost to defending freedom, independence and sovereignty as the siege resulted in huge number of internally displaced persons (IDPs), accounting for 23,794 families (118,819 individuals) spread in 32 evacuation centers.

At least seven barangays were severely affected by the war that also triggered series of conflagrations, razing to the ground a total of 9,722 houses valued at P200.83 million.

As if these were not enough, a natural calamity struck early October, when an inter-tropical convergence zone packed with heavy downpour for five continuous days, sent many parts of city under floodwaters.

The widespread flashfloods killed 5 people and displaced 4,804 families with 17,026 individuals coming from 25 hardest hit barangays. Damage to agricultural crops and fishery products was estimated at P57.9 million.

All these developed shortly after the local government had adopted the Zamboanga City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Plan, a preemptive and calibrated response to the challenges besetting the environment, the society and the people.

“Human security and a safe environment are paramount and are intertwined with basic human rights, socio-economic growth and our yearning for peace and progress,” Climaco stressed.

Present were the keynote speaker AFP spokesman Lt. Col. Gegorio Zabala, PhBBA president Dr. Edith Tria, Western Mindanao State University (WMSU) Vice President for Planning, Administration and Finance Dr. Ederlinda Fernandez, Zamboanga State College of Marine Sciences and Technology (ZSCMST) President Dr. Milavel Nazario, WMSU College of Science and Mathematics dean Dr. Marilou Elago, who is also the president of the PhBBA-Western Mindanao Chapter, and the PhBBA national officers. — Vic Larato