The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), together with the City Government of Zamboanga honored the heroes of the devastating Zamboanga siege on its 6th-year commemoration on September 9, 2019 at City Grounds, Zamboanga City.

The commemoration activity entitled A Special Day of Remembrance was conducted to pay tribute to the fallen heroes who fought for security, for their comrades, for the civilians who were used as human shields, and for the city; for the civilians who lost their lives protecting their families, friends, homes, neighbors, and the innocent children against violence and greed of the misguided few.

DSWD’s Undersecretary of Department of Social Welfare and Development, Danilo G. Pamonag graced the event as the keynote speaker where he also led the wreath-laying ceremony together with the Zamboanga City Mayor, Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar at the memorial marker on Rizal Street. It was also attended by DSWD Field Office 9 Regional Director Nestor B. Ramos, and other local and national agency representatives.

Prior to his role in the DSWD, Usec. Pamonag served in the military as Commander of the AFP Joint Special Operations Group (JSOG), the country’s top-tier counter-terrorist unit, when the 2013 Zamboanga Siege broke out.

“Do you know the difference between Zamboanga and Marawi? Why were we able to defeat the enemy in 21 days compared to Marawi Siege? In Zamboanga, you have your government led by your Mayor Beng Climaco that looked after the displaced families. So our [military] attention was focused only on attacking and apprehending the rebels. And it helped a lot,” Usec. Pamonag said during his speech yesterday.

It can be recalled that the invasion of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in 2013 has affected 14 barangays in the city and displaced more than 18,110 families with 78,747 individuals who temporarily took refuge in the 66 evacuation centers. A total of 510,119,723.08 worth of assistance were provided by the DSWD during emergency, early recovery and rehabilitation phase of the disaster operations.

The DSWD also provided augmentation support amounting to Php. 58,663,500.00 (an amount transferred by the NHA) to continuously implement programs for the Internally Displaced Persons (IPDs) until the eventual transfer of all affected families to their permanent shelters/homes.

As per status report submitted by the City Social Welfare and Development Office as of May 08, 2018, out of the total target of 5,587 IDP families, only 4,415 or 79% initially availed of the financial assistance with a total grant utilized amounting to Php. 43,898,000.00. The remaining unutilized funds are in the possession of the department where schedule of payout depends on the submission of master list from Housing and Land Management Division (HLMD). DSWD is tasked to provide and validate the list of IDPs in permanent shelters with an assistance amounting of Php. 10,000.00 per family.

Zamboanga City Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar and DSWD Undersecretary Danilo G. Pamonag led the wreath-laying ceremony as part of the tribute to Zamboanga Siege heroes.
DSWD Undersecretary Danilo G. Pamonag awards medal of recognition to ‘Zamboanga Siege Baby’