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Secretary Soliman presides over inter-agency approach meeting to discuss recovery, rehab efforts in Zambo

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Zamboanga City, September 24 — Social Welfare and Development Secretary DInky Soliman presided over the latest inter-agency approach meeting with representatives from various government agencies, international and local donors, civil society organizations and academe to discuss early recovery and rehabilitation efforts for families  affected by the recent crisis in the city.

With the DSWD leading the provision of social protection services, Secretary Soliman presented updates on its operation and management of emergency relief and response to the evacuees.  

The Secretary also presented urgent issues that need immediate attention such as sanitation, spread of measles, displacement of minority groups, rugby sniffing children, and child beggars.

DSWD Assistant Secretary Camilo Gudmalin, who met with other government agencies last week, reported that initial efforts have been done to address the pressing issues on the installation of additional lighting facilities, posting of additional DSWD staff at the evacuation centers who will provide 24-hour duty, and managing therapeutic activities in the evening such as showing of comedy movies.

For his part, Undersecretary Rizalino Rivera of the Department of Education reported that classes shall resume tomorrow for schools not in critical areas. He clarified, however, that for the 16 schools which were used as evacuation centers, school officials still have to assess the possibility of adopting the 50/50 scheme. Under this scheme, 50% of the classrooms shall be used for classes while the other 50%  will continue to be used as evacuation centers.

On health concerns, Regional Director Nimfa Torizo of the Department of Health said that initial efforts to ensure sanitation and health of the evacuees have also been addressed.  She added that families with a sick-member were isolated to prevent the spread of virus.  Likewise, sanitation measures such as spraying of the area where the portable toilets (portalets) are located will also be carried out by health personnel.  Medical doctors and other personnel in partnership with the Red Cross are manning the clinics established at the Joaquin Enriquez Sports complex.

Secretary Soliman lauded the efforts of civil society organizations for their support.  However, she stressed the need for consistency in the provision of volunteer work.

“For the children, the least that you can do is play with them,” Secretary Soliman said when an NGO representative asked her on the type of intervention that these NGOs can possibly provide.

“I am looking forward to more meetings with you,” Secretary Soliman told partners before the meeting was adjourned, underscoring the much-needed recovery and rehabilitation work that needs to be done for the affected families.
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