Australian Embassy
The Philippines

Ceremonial Handover of the Zamboanga Recovery Project to Beneficiaries

Ceremonial Handover of Zamboanga Recovery Project to Beneficiaries
Remarks by Ambassador Amanda Gorely
2 March 2018 

  • Mayor Beng Climaco-Salazar
  • Vice Mayor Cesar Iturralde
  • Ms Socorro Rojas, Chief of Zamboanga City Housing, and Welfare and Development Offices; and the Zamboanga City Government Team
  • Engineer Al - Kwarizimi Indanan and the National Housing Authority Team
  • Mr Tungkuh Hanapi and the Indigenous Peoples Group
  • Mr Abdul Aziz Hanapi and officials of Barangay Kasanyangan
  • Representatives from the Department of Education, Commission on Human Rights, National Commission for Indigenous Peoples, Office of Civil Registrar, and the Philippine Statistics Authority
  • Steven Muncy and the CFSI Team
  • Family-beneficiaries
  • Ladies and Gentlemen

Assalamu alaikum. (Peace be with you.)

Good afternoon.

I and my team are very pleased to be with you here today to celebrate the accomplishments of the Zamboanga Recovery Project.

On our way to Vale Vista, Kasanyangan, we passed through Santa Barbara, the main battleground of the siege in September 2013. I could only imagine the fear and trauma you experienced during the fighting and the hardships after having lost your homes and livelihoods. Some of you might have even lost your loved ones. Almost five years have passed and I want to personally convey my condolences for your loss.

You have shown strength and resilience. Seeing you here today, I am pleased that you are making progress to recovery.

As a friend, Australia will continue to be a responsive neighbour and stands ready to support the Philippines, and the Filipino people, especially in times of emergencies and disasters.

The Australian Government recognizes the need to provide long-term solutions while keeping people safe and restoring the dignity of families displaced by the 2013 crisis. In response to this need, Australia supported the Zamboanga Recovery Project, in partnership with the Community and Family Services International, Catholic Relief Services, World Health Organization, and the Zamboanga City Government.

The project supported Zamboanga City in its recovery efforts after the siege by helping to rebuild the lives of the poorest and most vulnerable families displaced by the crisis. The project provided permanent houses to 400 families; livelihood, psychosocial and protection assistance to at least a thousand families; assisted host communities of resettlement sites; and prevented the spread of diseases in transitory shelter sites.

I would like to thank Mayor Beng and the Zamboanga City Government, the National Housing, and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Zamboanga City for their strong support to the program, particularly in helping secure access to land where the 400 permanent houses were built.

Congratulations to the 400 families who are recipients of the houses. I hope you are enjoying them. I can see that you are taking care of them. And I can see that you have built a community here.

Congratulations to the 1,049 family-beneficiaries of the livelihood assistance. I can see examples of these here.

Congratulations to the 2,072 beneficiaries who now have birth certificates - your proof of your identity. I hope this opens opportunities for you including in accessing other government services.

I am delighted that 106 adult learners took the opportunity to learn how to read, write and do basic mathematics. I am sure your new skills give would you pride and joy as you are now able to share these experiences with your children, and empower you in interacting with others.

I hope families here in Kasanyangan are making full use of the activity centre, child development centre, and barangay multi-purpose hall supported by the project. Later, I will have an opportunity to visit one of the schools supported by the project.

I am delighted that Zamboanga City Government adopted the health and disease surveillance system, and hired two personnel trained under the project to assist the City Health Office in health and disease monitoring.

Thank you again to all our project partners. I hope you will continue to build on the learning and accomplishments of the Zamboanga Recovery Project in sustaining support to affected families. And to the families, I wish you all very best. Take care of yourselves, your houses and livelihoods. Good afternoon. Salamat.