Zambo opens 8th transitory site for ‘bakwits’

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/19 July) – The city government, in partnership with local and international agencies, has formally opened on Thursday the 8th transitory site in a bid to gradually clear the evacuation centers of internally displaced persons (IDPs) or “bakwits.”

The transitory sites serve as temporarily shelter for thousands of families displaced when Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) members loyal to founding chair Nur Misuari attacked some coastal barangays in this city in September 2013.

Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar said the 8th transitory site was constructed in a property offered by the Silsillah Dialogue Movement located in Sitio Paniran, Barangay Sta. Catalina.

Salazar said that 15 families, mostly from the Don Gregorio Memorial School, a few from the Zamboanga East Central School and some from the sports complex, were moved to the 8th transitory site based on the guidelines set by the Silsilah Dialogue Movement.

They compose the beneficiaries of the permanent housing project to be constructed for the Paniran Homeowners Association in Barangay Sta. Catalina.

Salazar said the single recovery shelter units that could house 15 families were constructed by the International Organization for Migration, in coordination with the Department of Social Welfare and Development, with the support of the governments of Japan, Canada and United Kingdom, and other agencies.

She expressed gratitude to the different partner agencies that are continuously assisting the city government in the recovery and rehabilitation efforts.

“We are very grateful that people not from Zamboanga are very passionate in their commitment to help our IDPs,” she said.

Fr. Sebastiano D’Ambra, founder of Silsilah Dialogue Movement, said they thought of allowing the free use of Silsillah’s property as a way of helping the city government in its efforts to help alleviate the plight of the “bakwits.”

Silsilah is an Arabic word which literally means “chain” or “link”. Silsilah is a dialogue movement promoting deeper understanding and better relations between Muslims, Christians and people of other faith.

The transitory site in Paniran, Sta. Catalina is the eighth so far established by the city government and its partner agencies for the thousands of “bakwits” in this city.

The other six transitory sites are located at the sports complex and in the barangays of Taluksangay, Upper Calarian, Tulungatung, Mampang and Rio Hondo.

Meanwhile, Dr. Elmeir Apolinario, assistant city administrator, said Saturday over the phone that preparations are underway for the construction of the 9th transitory site in Sitio Buggok, Sta. Catalina.

Apolinario, who heads the temporarily shelter cluster, said the construction of the 9th transitory site will start next week.

“The workers are there now bringing the needed materials for the bunkhouses to be constructed,” he added. (MindaNews)