Zambo refugees want to go home-A A +A
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
AFTER it was declared that the war in Zamboanga City is over, the 13 families crammed in one apartment on Tres de Abril St. in Barangay Punta Princesa, Cebu City want to go home.
But Mayor Michael Rama wants to make sure it’s safe for them to return.
Some 33 adults and 22 children have been staying with Sarah Mae Basillo. Some of them have been sleeping in the vehicles they arrived in.
Rama visited the apartment yesterday, and Barangay Captain Jose Navarro also dropped by.
Navarro said he offered to house the refugees in the barangay gym but they all want to stay with Basillo because they are all relatives.
Awaiting council nod
Rama already announced that he intends to give P5 million to Zamboanga City as assistance, although this still has to go through the City Council.
The mayor also said the Cebu City will shoulder the refugees’ fare back to Zamboanga City.
Rama has called Zamboanga City Mayor Beng Climaco to ask the latter if it was safe for the refugees to return.
Esther Concha, head of the Department of Social Welfare and Services, said the families can go as soon as her office gets the go-signal from Zamboanga City.
The 55 individuals are from Barangay Talon-talon, which is situated between Barangays Sta. Catalina and Mampang, where most members of the Moro National Liberation Front stayed.
Maritess Angeles Kajal, Basillo’s mother, described Talon-talon as one of five ghost towns in Zamboanga City. People fled for fear of their lives as rebels and government soldiers exchanged fire, she said.
Meanwhile, Rama said he wants to provide portable toilets to the families.
Bigger shelter, food
Kajal said they need more sleeping area and rice.
The 55 individuals left Barangay Talon-Talon Tuesday. They arrived in Cebu City at 5 p.m. the next day.
Eleven children and two adults suffered respiratory tract infection during their journey, according to Dr. Stella Ygoña, head of the City Health Department.
“They got it from the travel and the place where they are resting, which are not ideal,” said Ygoña.
From Barangay Talon-Talon the group traveled by land to Dapitan City then to Dipolog.
They then crossed the sea to Samboan and then to Cebu City.
Normally, the travel would have taken around 20 hours, but Kajal said they had to take it slow because of the children.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 01, 2013.