It is also saddening that the MNLF must first attack Zamboanga City for the national government to infuse billions to help the city. Had it done so in the past -- along with other poor towns and cities in Mindanao -- people will not be so poor and desperate to wage attacks and terroristic acts for mere P10,000.
For its neglect of Mindanao, the national government, the close to 100,000 million Filipinos and sadly the Zamboanguenos are paying for the injustice of the Mindanao people whose land contribute 25 percent to the national coffers yet receive so much less from the national government.
Actually what we need is a serious and long-term solution to the Mindanao problem and not band-aid solution. We wonder, for example, why the fully developed Iloilo, Cebu and other rich cities in Metro Manila are getting billions in funds while Zamboanga City gets so little. If it did get much, it is not reflected in our sorrounding or in our peace and order problem where 1 person gets slain almost daily. Criminals rule the city and most of the killings remain unsolved.
As I have always stressed in my previous writeup here, what happens in Mindanao -- or Zamboanga City -- affects the whole country because one bullet shot there is heard all over the world via Internet!
Here's the news from the Manila Times newspaper:
P3.8B to rebuild ZamboangaSeptember 19, 2013 10:21 pm
by CATHERINE VALENTE AND LLANESCA T. PANTI
President Benigno Aquino 3rd on Thursday said that the government is readying P3.89 billion for the reconstruction of Zamboanga City, which suffered extensive damage after almost two weeks of clashes between Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) rebels and government forces.
The President said that the government has a total of P6.1 billion in contingency funds to rebuild the city.
The national government, he said, was also coordinating with the Zamboanga local government on rehabilitation plans which includes the construction of temporary houses for residents who lost their homes, cash-for-work programs and educational assistance.
“What I’d like to assure the people is we have the necessary funds on hand to take care of that (reconstruction),” Aquino told reporters.
Officials of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, National Hosing Authority, and the city government have already started discussing reconstruction plans. They have identified target areas, especially some structures that were burned down by the rebels, according to Aquino.
“My understanding yesterday is that the (resettlement) site has been identified. But, again, there are people who do not want to be distant from the coastline, so that will have to be taken into consideration,” the President said.
Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda said that Aquino called up Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson and Budget Secretary Florencio Abad to discuss the continuing relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction plans for Zamboanga City.
Based on a situational report from DSWD, there are 23,794 families comprised of 118,819 individuals that have been affected by the fighting.
Lacierda said 89 percent of the displaced families were staying in evacuation centers, while 1,790 families chose to stay with their relatives or friends.
There are 57 evacuation centers serving 21,261 families or 112,961 individuals. The largest is the Joaquin F. Enriquez Sports Complex, also known as the Grandstand, where 63 percent of the affected families were staying.
The DSWD, through a number of food service providers in the city, provides 70,000 ready-to-eat packed foods for the evacuees every day.
The agency is conducting a computerized profiling of displaced families using its Disaster Assistance Family Center, family access cards for validation, and profile generation purposes as basis for providing relief and shelter assistance for families whose houses were badly damaged by the fires.
The House of Representatives also pledged to help rebuild Zamboanga, with congressmen each pledging P10,000 from their monthly salary to raise P2.89 million.
Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales 2nd and House Minority Leader Ronaldo Zamora signed House Resolution 3 that calls on all lawmakers to donate to the efforts to rebuild Zamboanga City.
“The House of Representatives will extend financial assistance to the victims of this crisis which has resulted in massive damage to property and infrastructure, adversely affecting the livelihood of the people of Zamboanga. This resolution recognizes their need for immediate aid and relief during this most difficult time,” Belmonte said.
A congressman receives P90,000 as monthly salary.
Belmonte earlier condemned the MNLF for the siege that led to the burning of homes and destruction of schools.
“Violence is definitely not at all the solution to achieve the peace sought by our brothers in Mindanao and by the Aquino government,” Belmonte said.
Still in Zamboanga
The President on Thursday said he will remain in Zamboanga City until the standoff between the MNLF and government forces is over.
Aquino said that he wants to personally oversee operations in the area.
”I’ll stay (in Zamboanga) until the crisis is over. I”ll return (to Manila) after I can explain in detail what the government plans to do . . . And I don’t expect that to take too long,” Aquino said.
He downplayed criticisms that he was micromanaging the situation in Zamboanga City.
”We assign people responsibilities because we knew they were capable of fulfilling them,” he said. “As both Commander-in-Chief and the President, at the end of the day, everything is my responsibility, so I am very involved.”
”I ask them what is needed, authorize the releases of funds; I am talking to Bangko Sentral to ensure the cash supply, am talking to Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Transportation and Communications, and Department of Agriculture to ensure that basic food stuffs are available from the time before I left Manila to the present—to include not just Zamboanga City but also Basulta [Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi],” Aquino added.