500 homes for Zamboanga victims
MANILA, Philippines—The National Housing Authority (NHA) is prepared to fund immediately the construction of an initial 500 homes for families displaced by the conflict in Zamboanga City, with Malacañang expected to pitch in additional funds for the costly reconstruction, Vice President Jejomar Binay said on Thursday.
Binay, also head of the government’s key shelter agencies, said he would appeal to private developers to pool their required 20 percent-per-project contribution to socialized housing for the reconstruction effort in Zamboanga City.
“Initially, at the NHA, we already saw that our budget can fund 500 units. Of course that’s not enough, but I heard that the President will add to that because this needs a big budget,” Binay told reporters on the sidelines of a convention of private housing developers in Makati City yesterday.
“This is part of our quick response. We saw that there is an obvious problem on mass housing … Remember, it’s September, almost October now. But right now, within the agency’s capability, [we can fund] 500 units,” Binay said.
He said NHA field officers were in the area to assess immediate shelter needs and survey areas where houses could be built.
City in ruins
Nearly three weeks of fighting between government troops and rebels from the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) rebel faction led by Nur Misuari has left much of Zamboanga in ruins, with houses razed or riddled with bullets.
A report by the United Nations Organization for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Unocha) on Sept. 23 said the conflict has affected 14 villages, with an estimated 3,400 structures damaged.
The fighting has displaced more than 100,000 people, many staying in 33 evacuation centers around the city.
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