On Monday (July 20), Secretary of the Interior and Local Government Mar Roxas will witness and assist the turnover ceremonies of 700 recovery shelters built by the national government through the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for more than 1,500 Zamboangenos in Barangay Kasanyangan, who were displaced due to the 2013 standoff between government and rebel forces in Zamboanga City.
Also known as “Houses on Stilts,” these shelters with water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) facilities were built for families whose homes were destroyed when around 500 armed men from a separatist faction of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) tried to raise their flag at the Zamboanga City Hall and took civilian hostages, leading to a prolonged gun battle resulting in the death of more than 200 people and the displacement of more than a hundred thousand individuals.
During the height of the siege in September 2013, President Aquino, Secretary Roxas, Secretary of National Defense Voltaire Gazmin, and other officials from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP), personally stayed in Zamboanga to coordinate the security and the relief operations in partnership with the Zamboanga City Government.
For his part, the DILG chief ensured that peace and order were restored in the city as soon as possible and that the national government was there to provide humanitarian support for those displaced during and after the two-week standoff.
Consequently, the DSWD has been relentless in its efforts to guarantee that the remaining 411 families still taking temporary refuge at the Joaquin Enriquez Memorial Sports Complex are given safe and adequate shelter in nearby areas.
After the turnover ceremony, Roxas will also meet with beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), the Aquino administration’s flagship anti-poverty program that has helped alleviate the lives of more than 40,000 families in Zamboanga City alone.
According to Roxas, the 4Ps is just one of the many gains that the Filipino people now enjoy and will enjoy further under the continuity of Daang Matuwid’s reforms.