Pensive: Zamboanga Crisis


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The radio was blaring that morning of September 9: it talked of men marching downtown, it talked of men wanting to hoist their flag in the city hall, and it talked of men wanting to proclaim independence. All pertains to what was conceived as a peaceful clamor except they were armed and were starting to use their ammunitions. The city was covered with a blanket of fear, of death, and of decay as it succumbed to an unexpected siege.

Seeing the situation in the city unfold in television, as the siege extended itself longer than expected, I felt I was transported back in 2001 where Zamboanga was also attacked by no less than the same group who attacked the city in September 9 – the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

READ: Diddled By The Siege

Every day, when I wake up, the first thing that I always ask is ‘is it over yet?’ Only to find out that sporadic gun firing continues to shake Sta. Barbara and/or Sta. Catalina. And all I can do is monitor the news, hoping that it all comes to an end already. Yes, we may be far away from the area where all these unrest are happening, however, we can’t rule out the possibility that the MNLF rebels may be just marches away from our area. Then at night, we all can’t sleep that much with the helicopters deafeningly flying above our roof every now and then. We all have to be vigilant for no one knows what will happen while we are in deep slumber.

The fear was very much present and it was fear that caused the people away from Sta. Catalina, Sta. Barbara, Mariki and the rest of the areas concerned to suffer from stress due to lack of sleep.

Add to the stress were the scenes on TV and social media where images of soldiers risking their own lives just to free the city of the rebels that took hold of its peace and order in a traumatic ordeal and the images of the distraction it caused. It was there that I appreciated the existence of these men in uniform. Also, the images of the people displaced in several evacuation centers and how they are dealing with the predicament.

READ: Battered By The Crisis

But on the brighter side, I also saw how the people of Zamboanga love their city.

As people were held up in their houses, as the siege continues, they turned to social media to extend their sentiments. In social media, Zamboangeños showed how much they hate the people behind the attacks, they showed how much they missed even the imperfections of ZamPen, and the siege showed that people were united in praying for their beloved city – Zamboanga City.


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