Zamboanga rehab ‘too slow’

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MANILA, Jan. 22, 2014— More than four months after the Zamboanga siege that displaced thousands of people, rehabilitation has been slow, a Catholic Church official said.

Archdiocese of Zamboanga administrator Msgr. Chris Manongas said that the government’s rehabilitation effort is still at its lowest pace, as conditions of evacuees were less than ideal.

Around 35,000 internally displaced persons are still languishing in different evacuation centers, with some just living in the streets, he said.

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

“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 already died in evacuation centers because of severe dehydration, common colds, asthma and hypertension.

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

“We just wonder why it’s taking them a long time that until now, in the ground zero, they are still on the survey mode,” he said.

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

It was last September when the Moro National Liberation Front faction of Nur Misuari laid a siege in Zamboanga City.

Several lives were lost and thousands of families were left homeless as bloody encounter ensued between the government forces and the rebels. (CBCPNews)

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