Isabel Vogel, the General Programs Manager of Manos Unidas, visited a couple of ZABIDA’s partner-barangays both in Zamboanga City and in Basilan. She, together with Manos Unidas Convenio-Philippines Coordinator, Miguel Carballo and Manos Unidas Country Coordinator to the Philippines, Jessica Del Olmo, visited Barangay Bunguiao, Barangay La Paz, Barangay Ayala, Barangay Upper Calarian, Simariki Island for Zamboanga City and Tairan, Lantawan for Basilan. Manos Unidas is an International Non-Government Organization and a “development NGO of the Catholic Church and volunteers” based in Spain. The organization works with around 58 countries in Africa, South America and in Southeast Asia. Currently, it is working with the Philippines through ZABIDA in the implementation of the Convenio 2 Project supported by the Spanish Cooperation for International Development Agency.
The Zamboanga-Basilan Integrated Development Alliance, Inc. (ZABIDA) is a regional NGO operating in Zamboanga City and in Basilan. For the Convenio 2 Project, it is working with 54 Barangay Local Government Units on Participatory Governance, Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation, Disaster Risk Reduction and Management, Gender and Development and Peace and Security. Now, in its 4th and last year of Project Implementation, Manos Unidas through Ms. Vogel, wanted to personally conduct an impact assessment directly from the Right-Holders and Duty-Bearers.
In her 5-day visit last March 6 to 10 of this year, she had a conversation with the Federation of Zamboanga Upland Farmers Association, Inc. in Barangay Bunguiao, Eco-Farm, and assessed the work-in-progress Organic Farming Project. She also listened to the political concerns of the Women Sector from the Bellas Mujeres de Bunguiao Association together with their Barangay Chairperson, Hon. Nestor H. Atilano. Then, she went up to Barangay La Paz, this time together with the External Evaluators, Andrea Navazo and Inigo Gutierez to assess the thriving flower business of the La Paz Flower Growers Association. The Association is composed of Women, Farmers and Youth Sector members that are supported by the Reach-Out to Others Foundation for Participatory Governance under the Convenio Project and by the ZABIDA-Financing Services Program which was supported by Manos Unidas. Also present during the visit was Barangay Kagawad Edgar Chavez, Committee on Agriculture. They also visited Islit Bakery in Barangay Ayala, one of the thriving private businesses that was supported by the ZABIDA-Financing Services Program. Thereafter met with the Hon. El King Omaga, Chairman of Barangay Calarian who presented the Logistical Support they received. An Information Technology Computer Set that is providing digital processing of Barangay Clearance to the people in the community.
In Simariki Island, Manos Unidas together with the External Evaluators, Fr. Angel Calvo, ZABIDA President, and Executive Director, Ms. Esperancita Hupida visited the Housing and Bangka project support provided to community. For Tairan in Lantawan, Basilan, Ms. Vogel, Mr. Carballo, Fr. Calvo, Ms. Hupida together with the Nagdilaab Foundation Executive Director, Ms. Miriam Suacito participated in the inaguaration of the Evacuation Center and the Ginger Tea Production Center of the Women Sector in Tairan. Before her trip ended, Zamboanga City Mayor, Hon. Isabelle “Beng” Climaco-Salazar, welcomed and thanked Manos Unidas for supporting ZABIDA and visiting Zamboanga City. She then gave them a token of appreciation to bring back to Spain.
In one of Ms. Vogel’s message, she expressed her “fully gratitude for your commitment during all these shared years and also wish us a joyful long way forward…” and that her aim for her visit is to, “know even more about ZABIDA, in order to gain a better understanding of all your present and future interventions and make Manos Unidas close to you…” She left the Philippines bringing with her the stories of hardships, success and gratitude from our beneficiaries. (Deorenzie Frances L Carreon/ZABIDA)