By Leilani S. Junio
MANILA, (PNA) — Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Corazon J. Soliman appealed Wednesday to media to be fair and accurate with its reporting on the conditions of the people in evacuation centers in Zamboanga City.
Secretary Soliman made the appeal as she made an update on the current status of scope of delivery of service that the agency extended to affected families being sheltered in evacuation centers in Zamboanga City.
“I know that after these I may become unpopular to some of you but please, let me appeal for accurate and fair reporting of the real conditions of evacuees, especially when it comes with the provision of food assistance,” Soliman said.
She cited for example that in some media reports, some media practitioners are highlighting those individuals that have not availed food supply instead of the more than 60,000 people that were provided with enough food three times a day.
“Please be fair with the volunteers and social workers here who are sacrificing a lot in attending to the welfare of the evacuees,” she added, citing that many of the social workers and volunteers did not have enough sleep since the 10-day armed conflict occurred.
Soliman said that DSWD is working hard to ensure enough and continuous provisions of food assistance to the affected families.
The DSWD is closely coordinating to Philippine Red Cross and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in distribution of hygiene kits and kitchen utensils and other materials that affected people’s need in evacuation centers.
She added that barangay council and parents of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4P’s) were tapped to secure outright and timely food distribution.
Social debriefing session is also being conducted among hostages, especially among the children who were traumatized by the incident.
Soliman also added that they are undertaking efforts for rehabilitation efforts to those greatly affected by the conflict.
To date, about 35 evacuation centers are now situated in different areas in Zamboanga City.
About 22,002 families consisting 109,686 persons are recorded to be affected by the 10-day old Zamboanga conflict.
Of these number, about 17,272 families or 95,099 are being sheltered and served in the 35 evacuations centers.
The DSWD has so far extended more than P30.36 million worth of assistance to the affected individuals.