ZABIDA, partners renew ties to help poor, siege victims PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 22 January 2014 13:32

The president of Zamboanga-Basilan Integrated Development Alliance, Inc. (ZABIDA) has hailed the community development and peace-building organization as a “little miracle” that has produced “little flowers” during its past seven years of assisting poor residents in the city and the neighboring province of Basilan.

ZABIDA president Fr. Angel Calvo, CMF made the remarks during the four-NGO consortium’s 4th Regional Partnership Forum held on Tuesday morning, January 21, at Marcian Business Hotel.

Since 2010, ZABIDA has held the forum annually to present its recent accomplishments and to renew its partnership with various local government and non-government organizations, barangays, farmers and urban poor groups, military and police, and others.  Representatives of some 60 of these attended Tuesday’s forum.

ZABIDA is made up of Nagdilaab Foundation, Inc. (NFI) based in Basilan and KatilingbanparasaKalambuan, Inc. (KKI), Reach Out to Others Foundation (ROOF), and Peace Advocates Zamboanga (PAZ) in Zamboanga.

Among the accomplishments reported during the forum, NFI disclosed that it implemented economic security, peace-building and good governance projects in 48 barangaysin Basilan.  It also built three potable water system facilities that benefit schools, health centers and communities who themselves manage their water associations. NFI also implemented projects in women empowerment, culture of peace skills, health services, sustainable agriculture, environmental conservation, livelihood and micro-lending and others.

On the other hand, ROOF has trained a few hundreds farmers belonging to 18 associations in six barangays in organic farming and sustainable agriculture in the past three years. The foundation is headquartered in the Bunguiao Eco-Farm Park, where it has a live-in training center.

KKI has been lending livelihood money to hundreds of local enterpreneurs through ZABIDA’S Financial Service Program, trained residents in disaster response and risk reduction and women in various life and health skills.  KKI has built almost 600 low-cost housing for urban poor residents in Zamboanga.

PAZ, the fourth ZABIDA member, concentrates on interreligious solidarity-building, peace education for youths, peace advocacy through its Week of Peace and media interventions, democratic governance in barangays with emphasis on women participation, security sector reform and networking with civil society groups in support of the Mindanao peace process. In close collaboration with  partners such as the Department of Education, Department of Local  Government, barangay councils, local governments, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, and others PAZ has served thousands in peace-building initiatives in the past three years under review.

Dr. Grace Rebollos, ZABIDA board director, presented a post-conflict needs analysis designed to guide the rehabilitation and psycho-social healing of the victims of the MNLF siege of the city last year. The analysis forms part of the official Zamboanga rehabilitation and recovery program of the national government.

Responses were given by the farmers federation president Joseph Ledesma, urban poor association president Juanita Cabugatan,  chairman CarlitoSuela of Tairan, Basilan, the province’s provincial administrator Tahira Ismael, Interreligious Solidarity for Peace Muslim convenor Prof. Ali Yacub, and city hall executive assistant Yah-yaAbdusalam Jr. on behalf of Mayor Ma. Isabel Climaco-Salazar. All committed to continue to work with ZABIDA in pursuit of its various programs.

United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs officer Wouter De Cuyper in his response said various international aid agencies are working to establish a funding program to help the victims of the city’s siege in the coming months.

In tandem with the Claret Parish, ZABIDA executive director EsperancitaHupida, who spearheaded the forum, said the consortium provided food and relief goods assistance to thousands of victims during and after the siege, from donations of different national and international charities.  With Ateneo de Zamboanga University, it also undertook psycho-social healing for children and youths. With the International Labor Organization’s support, ZABIDA built and donated 500 classroom armchairs to schools where evacuees had destroyed their armchairs.

ZABIDA orchestrated the formation of a rehabilitation and healing task group called Re-Unidos that aims to continue efforts with government and non-government organizations for the speedy rehabilitation of siege victims and rebuilding of their communities.

Fr. Calvo emphasized too that ZABIDA’s unique wholistic approach concept of multi-program and intersectoral integration has been proven to be effective by the consortium’s achievements in the past seven years. — Peace Advocates Zamboanga/ZABIDA

Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 January 2014 13:32