Government to rehab standoff-affected communities-A A +A
By Bong Garcia
Thursday, September 19, 2013
PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III said Thursday that the government has adequate funds to rehabilitate the communities affected by the standoff between troops and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) rebels in Zamboanga City.
Aquino made the announcement after he welcomed the arrival Thursday afternoon of the Philippines Airlines (PAL) flight at the Zamboanga International Airport (ZIA) coming from Manila.
The arrival of the PAL flight was the second, 10 days after the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (Caap) closed ZIA to commercial air traffic.
The first commercial flight from Manila to Zamboanga City was the Cebu Pacific Air (CEB) that landed Thursday morning.
President Aquino said that plans are underway to rehabilitate the affected communities, to include the relocation of residents who are informal settlers.
The severely affected areas are the adjoining villages of Sta. Catalina, Sta. Barbara, and Rio Hondo where sporadic fighting continued Thursday coupled with conflagration.
Hundreds of houses have been razed in daily fire incidents taking place at the height of the fighting, as the troops continue their "calibrated response" to constrict the MNLF rebels' movement.
Initial assessment showed that some P3.89 billion is needed to rehabilitate and provide continuing assistance to the displaced families, said Aquino.
The President said his office has the available contingency and calamity funds of P6.1 billion.
He said the assistance would include shelter, livelihood, educational, and supplemental feeding.
However, he said that everything has yet to be finalized, although the local government has initially identified an area where to possibly relocate the informal settlers.
Meanwhile, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Manuel Roxas II said that Caap has come up with a new flight and approach paths to ensure the safe landing of the plane as ZIA was re-opened Thursday to commercial air traffic.
Roxas, Zamboanga City Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar and other officials welcomed the arrival Thursday morning of CEB flight from Manila.
Roxas said it is expected that the schedule of the commercial flights to and from Zamboanga City will normalize soon.