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Sec. Soliman in the house


(BY: REV. BERLIE G. YAP) On Tuesday, December 16, no less than the Secretary of the Department of Social Work and Development (DSWD), Dinky Soliman, paid a visit to Barangay eMedia. She was around in the City for a personal onsite visit of the IDP’s and their transitory sites in Mampang and the rest.

In spite of her busy schedules of her short drop in Zamboanga, she graced the invitation of Barangay eMedia. In a live interview, Sec. Soliman explicitly answered every question Partner Rey Bayona Bayoging asked, especially with regards to the remaining un-relocated Internal Displaced Persons (IDP’s) in the Don Joaquin Enriquez Sports Complex or commonly known by everyone as the “Grandstand”. Here are few of her statements:

· Before 2014 ends, DPWH can already download the additional P50 million funds for the construction of the IDP’s houses or bankers in their temporary sites, including that said P50 million is also for the other expenses related to the IDP’s.

Well, that sounds good news—good news for the IDP’s themselves, the City—that at least the Grandstand can also be fixed back, and to the Zamboangueño people in general. The remaining un-relocation of the IDP’s is an open embarrassment for our City government and our people to our neighbor provinces, the country and the rest of the world who gave their donations. We must help them ASAP.

If the IDP’s can remain still unattended beyond 2014, the international community may have all the reasons to criticize us. It even can become a valid factor for Zamboanga to be accused on violation of the IDP’s human rights. Remember, same IDP’s are also human beings who do have the equal inherent rights as anyone else, which our State must protect.

Sec. Soliman explained that it is the DPWH, the lead agency, which is assigned in the rehabilitation of the IDP’s, particularly in the construction of the houses in the Z3R.

Accordingly, the release of the fund is delayed a little because the City government was also late in the submission of its necessary and pertinent requirements or documents which are crucial for the release of the said P50 million funds. She as well mentioned about the needed actual breakdown of the budget which the City government submitted a little late.

Part of the breakdown is the priority payment of the electricity bills, in millions of pesos, incurred during the partial stay of the IDP’s in the different evacuation centers, especially at the Grandstand, and to the transitory sites, and with their water bills also.

The IDP’s has already suffered a lot! They must have their normality back, that virtually as soon as possible. After all, they too are Filipinos who deserve the equal attentions as like everyone else.

· Secretary Soliman also said that the target date of the transfer of the rest of the IDP’s shall be on January 30, 2015. She said further that the President himself is the one who follows-up on her regularly for the rehabilitation of the IDP’s. Her tone, of such statement, was indeed meaning that the rehabilitation project is really a priority of the Aquino administration.

· Good news to the City of Zamboanga, because the National government is as well considering the speedy rehabilitation of the grandstand, where the IDP’s occupied as their temporary shelter for more than one year now. Sec. Soliman said that such repair may happen at the first quarter of 2015.

For sure it will need again a specific budget from the National government, but on the other hand, because of the emergency of its situation, such needed repair can be Aquino’s priority, too. Taking into account that Mayor Beng is also a party-mate of the President.

Barangay eMedia is also positive for the President’s heart to Zamboanga. But politics can still delay or sometimes abort to what can be allotted to a place. By experience, our City has been on a relative scenario for several or countless of times in the past. God forbid that Zamboanga can be procrastinated again. Let’s hope for the best, anyways.

“He said also to the man who had invited him, ‘When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.’” Luke 14:12-14 ESV

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