Speed up Zamboanga rehab, Church tells govt

Archdiocese of Zamboanga administrator Father Chris Manongas said that the conditions of evacuees were less than ideal.

Philippines
Jan 24 2014, 5:29 PM
Speed up Zamboanga rehab, Church tells govt
A policeman directs residents to board the truck during a forced evacuation in the residential village in Zamboanga city. (File Picture)

Rehabilitation work among thousands displaced by the Zamboanga siege has been slow almost four months after the incident, a Catholic Church official has said.

Archdiocese of Zamboanga administrator Father Chris Manongas said that the conditions of evacuees were less than ideal. Around 35,000 displaced people are languishing in evacuation centres and on the streets, he said.

Islamist insurgents of the Moro National Liberation Front fighting for independence of mineral-rich Mindanao province from the Philippines had laid siege to Zamboanga last September, leading to clashes with the Philippines army, disrupting life in the city and displacing more than 100,000.

For the sake of Zamboaga refugees, the archdiocese called on the government to accelerate reconstruction and rehabilitation.

“We hope that the government will fast track the relocation and rehabilitation for the internally displaced,” Manongas said over Manila archdiocese-run Radio Veritas.

“Their condition is not really fit for human habitation. It’s a miserable condition that the government should address faster than what is going on right now,” he said.

The Zamboanga City’s health office earlier reported that at least 65 evacuees have died in evacuation centres because of severe dehydration, common colds, asthma and hypertension.

Manongas claimed that there was no significant improvement in the situation since last September even though the government claimed of spending a “substantial amount” for the rehabilitation work.

“Nothing is moving in the ground except the bunkhouses that they are constructing in other places but not in the ground zero,” Manongas added.

Source: CBCPNews

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