Where will P3.89 billion for Zambo rehab go?

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/29 Sept) – The national government has earmarked P3.89 billion for “early recovery program and rehabilitation” of Zamboanga City, the bulk of which – P2.9 billion – will go to shelter assistance and bunkhouses for 21,252 families,  who were displaced by the three-week standoff between government and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) under founding chair Nur Misuari.

Records of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) report as of 5 p.m. on Sept. 28 show that the standoff that began on Sept. 9 has affected 23,794 families or 118,819 persons from 14 barangays in Zamboanga City and one barangay in Zamboanga Sibugay.  Of this number, 21,959 families or 110,368 persons are being served in and out  of evacuation centers.

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin on Saturday declared “mission accomplished” while Local Governments Secretary Mar Roxas said the siege is “over.”  The officials said all the hostages had been accounted for.

Army spokesperson Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala told ABS-CBN News channel on Saturday that there were still  “less than 10 stragglers” from among the MNLF forces but “they can no longer inflict danger to Zamboanga City.”

He said it would take 10 to 14 days to clear the conflict-affected areas of, among others, possible unexploded ordnance.

Government forces are still looking for Ustadz Habier Malik, who led the MNLF forces from Sulu in the Zamboanga standoff.

Of the P2.9 billion budget for shelter, P2.13 billion is allocated for “shelter assistance for 21,252 families at P100,000 each” while P797.25 million is for the “construction of 2,126 bunkhouses” for the same number of families at P375,000 per unit of 10 rooms each.

A total of 10,160 houses were reported burned, according to the NDRRMC, with Sta. Catalina posting the highest number of houses burned at 3,591;  Rio Hondo at 2,113; Kasanyangan at 1,685; Sta. Barbara at 1,592; and Mariki at 1,179.

As of 5 p.m. September 26, the NDRRMC quoted the Bureau of Fire Protection in Zamboanga City as saying that the estimated cost of damage from the series of fires in Ayer Village, Sta. Barbara; houses near the mosque in Sta. Barbara; Lustre, Sta. Catalina; Fisheries Compound, Rio Hondo; Mariki; Rojo compound, Sta. Catalina; Zone 4; and Mampang is P189.9 million. “

The next biggest cost for the recovery and rehab program is P285.02 million for “operational and/or administrative expenses for the project management,” followed by P212.52 million for livelihood assistance for 21,252 families at P10,000 each.

Government is also allocating P178.46 million for relief assistance for 23,794 families at P250 per pack per family for 30 days.

This is on top of the cost of relief assistance of P116.2 million recorded by the NDRRMC from Sept. 9 to 28 for medicines, medical supplies and relief goods to affected families and financial assistance to casualties and hostages.

The P3.89 billion rehab program also includes P149.90 million for cash for work/training for 23,794 families at “P210/person/day for 30 days,” although it probably meant P210 per family per day;  P106.94 million for educational assistance for 21,387 children at P5,000 each;  P24.10 million for supplementary feeding program for 15,446 kids aged 2-5 years at “P13/child/day for 120 feeding days.”

The budget also includes P10.63 million for Balik-Probinsya program for 2,125 families at an average of P5,000 per family.

The standoff as of Sept. 28 resulted to 137 dead and 241 wounded in Zamboanga City. Of the 137 killed, five were from the police, 18 from the military , nine civilians and 105  MNLF.

Of the 241 wounded, 15 were from the police, 169 from the military and 57 from the civilians. No data was available for the wounded MNLF.

The P3.89 billion budget will be taken from the P6.1 billion calamity and contingency fund. Budget Secretary Florencio Abad on Sept. 23 told MindaNews that P4.2 billion out of the  P6.1 billion fund is from the calamity fund while P1.9 billion is from contingency fund, but what Zamboanga City needed was P3.89 billion “so far. “ (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)