Koronadal launches relief drive for Zambo ‘bakwits’

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/02 October) — The city government here has launched a relief campaign for residents of Zamboanga City who were displaced by the standoff between government forces and members of the Moro National Liberation Front under founding chair Nur Misuari.

Mayor Peter Miguel said Wednesday they are currently raising funds and gathering various relief goods to augment the needs of at least 20,000 families or 105,000 individuals that have evacuated as a result of the conflict.

He said they have designated the city hall lobby as drop-off area for donated relief items, which would be delivered later on by the local government to Zamboanga City.

“We’re calling on our residents to join us in this campaign. We will accept donations for rice, canned goods and other food and relief items,” he said in a radio interview.

For its part, the mayor said the city government is sending an initial P400,000 as financial assistance to the local government of Zamboanga.

He acknowledged that the release of the assistance was quite delayed, noting the local government had to find sources of fund for such purpose.

Miguel said they were able to come up with the initial amount through the realignment of some of its programmed expenditures and other funding priorities.

“But even at the height of the standoff, we already resolved to extend our help to the affected residents there,” he said.

As of Tuesday, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said a total of 23,794 families or 118,819 individuals have been affected by the conflict in 14 barangays of Zamboanga City and one village in Zamboanga Sibugay.

It said 20,810 families or 105,705 families are currently staying in 37 evacuation centers set by the government and in other outside shelter areas.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Region 12 earlier sent some 10,000 family food packs and other relief items for the evacuees or ‘bakwits’ in Zamboanga City.

The DSWD, Department of Education and the Department of Health in Region 12 sent some of their personnel to assist the ongoing relief, medical and psychosocial activities for the affected residents. (MindaNews)