Zamboanga City grateful for UN help after 2013 siege

Roel Pareño - Philstar.com
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines -- The city government on Monday reiterated its gratitude to the United Nations for its support after parts of the city were besieged by rogue Moro National Liberation Front fighters in 2013.
Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar made the statement after President Rodrigo Duterte criticized the UN in a press conference early Sunday morning.
The president, irked by comments made by two UN special rapporteurs on the government's war on drugs, said the Philippines would leave the UN if it continues to be "rude (bastos)". The Palace had previously called the comments a form of intervention in a sovereign nation's affairs.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. has already said that the Philippines will not leave the UN. He explained that Duterte was "tired, disappointed, hungry when he made the statement" and should have been given "leeway". Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, meanwhile, has said that while the Philippines cannot leave the UN, it can withdraw its support.
Even so, Salazar said there might be adverse effects if the Philippines' relations with the UN deteriorate as there are still UN-attached agencies providing assistance to thousands of internally-displaced persons (IDPs) still at transitory sites since the 2013 siege.
She said some organizations like the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (Unicef) are working with the Water and Sanitation Hygiene (WASH) program at the transitory sites and the International Organization for Migration.
The mayor said Unicef has given the city $200,000 for another training program for the IDPs.
Salazar said the city has benefited from the presence of the UN-supported organizations in terms of humanitarian support through the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
“In terms of the humanitarian aspect of the UN that has helped the city, we are thankful that they have provided our early recovery and rehabilitation support in the city of Zamboanga. But again, having the prerogative as the president, we will await the orders of Malacañang on this matter,” Salazar said.

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