MANILA, Philippines – In a donor’s forum organized by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) on October 3 at Makati City, delegates from different government and non-government agencies and organizations talked about how to restore parts of Zamboanga City damaged by warfare between Philippine government forces and members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).
The forum was conducted to get international agencies and the private sector to support the government’s rehabilitation plan for the said city.
The Philippine government has already allotted P3.89 billion for the execution of such plans. Cited in a Rappler article (10/03/13), both Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Dinky Soliman and Zamboanga City Mayor Maria Isabel Climaco agreed that much is needed to bring back the city.
President Benigno Aquino III, on one hand, assigned Department of Public Works and Highways, led by Secretary Rogelio Singson, to execute the rehabilitation plan.
The House of Representatives, through Speaker Sonny Belmonte, has donated P3 million for rehabilitation efforts. The monetary aid came from a mandatory salary deduction of P10, 000 for each congressman.
On October 18, the Bureau of Immigration Officer-in Charge Siegfred Mison ordered all of its personnel to arrest MNLF Chair Nur Misuari along with 3 other leaders who are facing charges in relation to the ignition of the Zamboanga warfare.
Pursuant to a memorandum released by Justice Secretary Leila De Lima, Mison further stressed that Misuari, Habier Malik, Bas Arki and Assamin Hussin should stay within Philippine custody.
Immigration officers were told to coordinate with other law-enforcing authorities in the execution of the warrants and in the securing of all entry and exit ports of the country.
Members of an MNLF faction occupied coastal areas of the City with the aim to hoist a Bangsamoro Republik flag in front of the City Hall on September 8, 2013. The siege was tagged as the worst humanitarian crisis of the city which has a population close to 1 million.
Malacañan, on September 28, announced that the 21-day deadly standoff between government troops and rebels belonging to an MNLF faction has ended.
It caused airports, seaports, and schools to close for a week. Economic activities in the City was vastly affected with loses on trade and commerce amounting to approximately P5 billion.
The three-week siege affected at least 14 barangays displacing 23,794 families or 118,819 persons. More than 200 were killed with 25 of them from government troops, 206 from rebels, and 13 civilians. # -Reiner Lorenzo J. Tamayo (with reports from PDI and Rappler)
NOTE: This is an article submitted to the Vital Signs for publication earlier this month