DSWD to build more bunkhouses for Zambo ‘bakwits’

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/16 August) – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is constructing additional 30 bunkhouses for the evacuees who are housed at the city sports complex.

City information officer Sheila Belen Covarrubias said the additional bunkhouses will be built at the transitory site in Sitio Masepla, Barangay Mampang.

Covarrubias said the additional bunkhouses can accommodate at least 700 families.

She said DSWD Assistant Secretary Vilma Cabrera relayed the plan to build additional bunkhouses to Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar in a recent meeting at City Hall.

There are at present 30 bunkhouses in Masepla which house 518 families or 2,653 individuals.

The bunkhouses were built by the DSWD and the International Organization for Migration.

Covarrubias said there is still a wide space for the additional 30 bunkhouses since only five hectares of the 22.5-hectare Masepla property have been developed.

She said the city government can start the decongestion of the Mayor Joaquin Enriquez Memorial Sports Complex once the additional bunkhouses are completed.

Dr. Elmeir Apolinario, assistant city administrator and head of the temporary shelter cluster, said the DSWD wanted to develop the remaining area at the Masepla property to accommodate the evacuees from the sports complex and to eventually clear the area.

Latest record of the city government showed that there are 2,428 families comprising 12,996 individuals that are still housed at the sports complex.

The Masepla transitory site is among the seven transitory sites housing the “bakwits.” The transitory site is made of bunkhouses.

The other transitory sites are located in Barangays Rio Hondo, Sta. Catalina (at the Silsillah Dialogue Movement property), Taluksangay, Tulungatung and Upper Calarian (at the Philippine Tuberculosis Society, Inc. property), and at the sports complex.

The sports complex served as the biggest evacuation center since the 20-day standoff that broke out on September 9 when hundreds of Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) members loyal to MNLF founding-chair Nur Misuari infiltrated some coastal barangays in the city. (MindaNews)