Mindanao lawmakers seek P2B more for Zambo rehab PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 11 December 2013 11:40

JOLO, Sulu – Mindanao lawmakers have requested the national government to  infuse  P2 billion more for the  reconstruction and rehabilitation of the five villages in Zamboanga City, the center of the 23-day standoff last September between government forces and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) Nur Misuari faction.

Sulu 1st District Rep. Habib Tupay Loong, chair of the Committee on  Muslim Affairs, at the Lower House said that Muslim congressmen and congresswomen and the other members of the  committee, are asking the national government for a P2 billion additional budget allocation for the rehabilitation and  reconstruction of war-torn villages in  Zamboanga City.

Rep Loong said the amount is  on top of the P3.8 Billion the government had allocated earlier  to the  city for the  reconstruction and rehabilitation process covering the  five villages – Rio Hondo, Mariki, Sta Catalina and , Sta Barbara.

“Considering that the earlier allocation made by the national government  is inadequate for the purpose, the members of the Committee on Muslim Affairs are collectively requesting for an additional  amount of P2 billion to be drawn from the  proposed P14-B supplemental budget of the national government as additional allocation for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Zamboanga  City and recovery assistance for the city residents including its informal settlers,” Loong explained..

The standoff in Zamboanga City  started on September 9 and lasted for 23 days, displacing  about  23,794 families (118,819 individuals) spread in 32 evacuation centers in the city. It also razed a total of 9,722 houses valued at P200.83 million.

In a collective manifestation he delivered at the Lower House, Loong said “Mr. Speaker, our country has been devastated by successive disasters. The standoff victims in Zamboanga City who most of them are Muslims are  also in dire need of immediate medium and long term programs of rehabilitation and  reconstruction of their villages in order for them to  return to their normal life. Thus, we ask the national government to allocate another P2 billion for the victims in Zamboanga City”

Loong said the amount  will be added to the budget in the building of temporary shelters for victims and the succeeding building of permanent housing units, school buildings and other social and economic infrastructure and the continuing relief programs to assist the victims  to return  tot heir normal life.

The national government has tasked the UP PLANADES team headed by Dr. Primitivo Cal to prepare the rehabilitation plan for the five villages severely affected by the conflict.

The rehab plan which the UPPLANADES has recently completed incorporates the principle of “Build Back Better Zamboanga” which means better road networks and navigational lanes in the affected areas and disaster and climate change-resilient infrastructures and public facilities particularly against flooding and high tide. — Nonoy E Lacson