The Palace is deploying addi–tional health workers to attend to the evacuees displaced by the Zamboanga siege staged by rebel groups last year, a Palace official said on Saturday.
Deputy Presidential Spokes–person Abigail Valte made the announcement in light of the report that 81 people have died in the Don Joaquin Enriquez Memorial Sports Complex, which serves as an evacuation center.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Department of Health are discussing how to increase the number of health workers there in Zamboanga,” Valte told Radyo ng Bayan.
The Zamboanga siege, which transpired in September 2013 as a show of Nur Misuari group’s opposition to the Bangsamoro Framework Agreement between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), displaced 100,000 people and destroyed infrastructure for social services. Civilians were used as human shields by Mi–suari’s group during gunfights with state troops.
“There are a lot of evacuees who still need to be taken care of, and it was Secretary Soliman who sought additional health workers there,” Valte pointed out, referring to DSWD Chief Dinky Soliman.
Earlier, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines called on private entities as well as government agencies to provide aid to the evacuees in Zamboanga City, particularly those in Don Joaquin Enriquez Memorial Sports Complex.
“We know that there are already nongovernment organizations (NGOs) extending aid to the evacuation centers, and the DSWD is also working with them to improve the situation in the evacuation centers,” Valte said.
“We assure our evacuees that the government, in co–operation with the private NGOs, will look after them,” Valte added in closing.