WFP to resume food-for-work program for Zambo ‘bakwits’

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/17 May) – The World Food Programme (WFP) will resume next week its food-for-work program that would benefit some 6,000 families displaced by the September 2013 siege in this city, an official said.

Sheilla Covarrubias, city information officer, said that 4,893 of the 6,000 beneficiary-families are from the transitory sites and evacuation centers while the remaining 1,107 are home-based families.

Home-based families refer to displaced families who have sought temporary shelter with their relatives.

Currently, there are still 4,892 families, comprising of 26,211 individuals, living at evacuation centers in R.T Lim or “Cawa-Cawa” Boulevard and at the Joaquin Enriquez Memorial Sports Complex.

The massive displacement came after members of the Moro National Liberation Front associated with founding chair Nur Misuari laid siege to some coastal villages here that resulted to fierce clashes with government troops for several weeks.

Covarrubias said that each displaced family will receive a sack of rice for a week’s work under the WFP’s food-for-work program, which will start next week until July this year.

She said the first batch of the program’s beneficiaries, the number of which has yet to be determined, will work from May 19 to 25.

Covarrubias said that the WFP has allotted 18,000 sacks of rice of 50 kilograms each for the resumption of its food-for-work program.

The first food-for-work program that benefited thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) or bakwits was implemented by the WFP from November last year until February.

Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar has expressed gratitude to the WFP for the resumption of the food-for-work program, citing “it will greatly help the IDPs as they bounce back from the destruction wrought by the siege.”

The Department of Social Welfare and Development, City Social Welfare and Development Office, Office of the City Agriculturist and Office of the Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs are coordinating with the WFP for the implementation of the program, Covarrubias said. (MindaNews)