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Monday, April 20, 2015

Masepla IDPs air problems to inter-agency communications group

By Dominic I. Sanchez

ZAMBOANGA CITY – The Communications Working Group (CWG) composed of government agencies and non-government organizations on Tuesday (April 14) visited the Masepla Transitory Site in barangay Mampang to hear from internally displaced persons (IDPs) about their needs while staying at the site.

Shiela Covarrubias, City Hall Public Information Officer said that such discussions with the IDPs are needed to help government and the humanitarian actors provide a needs-based intervention to help IDPs while in transit. “It would be best if we heard from them about their situation so in turn, we can share what we have learned afterwards to the different clusters concerned,” she said.

“This is also a way of getting feedback from the current services given to them,” Covarrubias added.
In Masepla, the IDPs were broken down into sectors such as youth, senior citizens and persons with disabilities, mothers, fathers, and leaders. Interviewers from the CWG including college student-volunteers asked a set of questions based on the Accountability to Affected Population (AAP) focused group discussion.

Among the items discussed were their access to basic services, communication needs, safety and security, protection issues, child protection, women’ needs, durable solutions and others.

It was learned that the among the pressing needs of the IDPs in Masepla include the lack of electricity, the distance of the water supply, need for livelihood interventions, the distance of the actual site from the town center where IDPs earn a living and where their children go to school, and the need for an emergency medical outpost.

“NapakalayongMaseplasapaaralanngmgabata, sana may school bus (Masepla is very far from school, we hope there will be a school bus),” said one of the IDPs.

Meanwhile, for IDPs like Aben who was one of those recently transferred from the Grandstand said that Masepla is a far better place than the Grandstand. “Mas maayosdito, komportable at peaceful (It’s better here, more comfortable and peaceful),”Aben shared.

Aben shares that they have experienced only minor security problems like thefts, but the thief, who was not an IDP was apprehended by volunteer peacekeepers who are IDPs themselves.

However, he wishes that he could return to his home in Sta. Catalina soon. “Malayolangtalaga kame dito, at sanamakakabalikna kame saaminglugar (this place is very far and I hope that we can already return home),” he said.

Aben is one of the thousands of displaced persons who are still waiting for permanent shelters under the Zamboanga City Roadmap to Recovery and Reconstruction (Z3R) program, after his home was destroyed during the Zamboanga siege of 2013.

Masepla is the third transitory site to be visited for the discussions by the CWG. The group is composed of the City Hall Public Information Office, several United Nations (UN) agencies and non-government units and the Philippine Information Agency.