P3.9-B funds for Zambo residents go to shelter, livelihood assistance – Palace Deputy Spokesperson

By Janice M. Cave

MANILA, (PNA) — A bulk of the P3.89 billion fund that the government will release to aid Zamboanga City residents and villages that suffered during the standoff between government forces and Moro National Liberation Front fighters would be allocated for shelter construction, livelihood and educational assistance.

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said the funds, which have yet to be disbursed, is on top of the P37 million that the Social Welfare department has allotted for the victims of the crisis.

She said a portion of the funds would be used for the short-term continuing relief assistance of the more than 23,000 families affected, with P250 worth of food pack for every family for one month.

“We expect some of these numbers will change in the next few days. As the days go by, kapag nag-normalize na ang situation ay mababawasan na din ang kailangan sa continuing relief assistance program,” she said.

She said families whose houses were either totally or partially damaged during the firefight would be given shelter assistance through the construction of bunkhouses.

For the past 12 days since the crisis began, officials on the ground reported that several houses and buildings were burned in the neighboring villages of Sta. Catalina and Sta. Barbara.

Valte, however, could not yet provide figures on the cost of the damage to the affected areas, saying continuing assessment is ongoing.

Educational assistance will also be given to college students for the purchase of school supplies and uniforms. There will also be a supplementary feeding program for two to five year old children for 120 days, she said.