‘Fake evacuees’ told to leave evacuation site in Zambo

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/30 April) – The local government has ordered people who were not among those displaced by the September 2013 standoff between government forces and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front-Misuari faction to vacate the evacuation area along R.T. Lim Boulevard.

Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar issued the order after it was discovered that 55 of the 527 families housed in 493 tents along the boulevard area “are without tagging.”

The tagging, which is being undertaken by the city government’s Housing and Land Management Division (HLMD), aims to properly identify the families displaced by the standoff.

These families have been issued a card or tag by HLMD chief Rodrigo Pagotaisidro identifying them as internally displaced persons or IDPs.

Salazar said the presence of non-IDPs or “fake IDPs” came after she ordered Pagotaisidro to conduct a “re-tagging” and “re-census” along the R.T. Lim Boulevard area.

The mayor said the re-validation of IDPs was conducted together with the Department of Social Welfare and Development and Commission on Human Rights.

Assistant City Administrator Elmeir Apolinario said some of the non-IDPs came from other barangays in this city that were not affected by the standoff. Some of them are from Basilan and Tawi-Tawi.

Apolinario said they purposely mingled with the IDPs, some of whom are their relatives, to benefit from the government’s relocation and housing assistance program that are only intended for families displaced by the standoff.

Meanwhile, Salazar said the re-validation will continue among the IDPs who are housed at the Joaquin Enriquez Memorial Sports Complex. (MindaNews)