LOOKING IN: Best forgotten than remembered PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 28 August 2014 12:56

BY ROD BALBON

 

September 9, 2013 — a date in the history of Zamboanga City which, to me,should be best forgotten than be remembered and celebrated, a date which will live in infamy.

Days from now, the city government will lead us in commemorating the first anniversary of the most bloody and destructive siege of our city by the MNLF rebels. They came like thieves in the night with lightning quickness and the entire city defenses, if ever there was, were totally caught off guard. Everybody was soundly asleep like a woman waiting to be raped. There was total intelligence failure and we paid a very dear price—thousands of homes in five barangays were burned and razed to the ground, thousands of lives were lost, and billions of pesos of business profits, opportunities and incomes were lost. Thousands are still displaced and living in temporary shelters and the threat of renewed fighting and destruction of our city by this rebel group rings louder each and every day.

Why should we celebrate this siege of our city? There should be no celebration, no programs, and no special salutes but only prayers for the thousands of innocent civilians, brave policemen and soldiers who were killed in the cross-fires and in defending our city. Only prayers and nothing more. It’s time that we all forget this traumatic incident and move forward to build a better, peaceful, and progressive Zamboanga City.

To our police force and military authorities, our special commendations for their zealous efforts in maintaining peace and order in the city. Since they are fighting faceless and unknown enemies, intelligence efforts must be doubled or even tripled to preempt the execution of their criminal intentions.

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The rebels’ threat of bombing and kidnapping coupled with the unannounced periods of brownouts are exacting a heavy toll on businesses, especially restaurants and bars that operate at night.

The Paseo del Mar which is usually packed with people from all walks of life in the afternoon up to midnight was quiet and the crowd was sparse last Monday, a holiday. Only the Mano-Mano Restaurant and the Barcode were full because of the live entertainment provided by acoustic singers. I rested and ordered caldereta and two bottles of beer at the Kambingan where only two tables were occupied. The others were almost empty. When the entire complex was browned-out, the place was emptied as people scurried for home.

I too went out and headed for Kape Zambo—the only resto bar along Canelar Street where one can listen and enjoy live acoustic jazz, bossa nova, rhythm and blues, and folk songs of the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s.

The place is alive because it has its own power generator. Pity for those who don’t have it.

Well, if we are to progress, we must have enough supply of electricity and, if possible, a new power distributor. Not the old and unreliable Zamcelco.

By the way, GM George Ledesma, how much is the standing debt of Zamcelco? What is the present percentage of system loss? With your appointment, we were expecting you to be transparent in running the affairs of the electric cooperative. But it seems you became tight-lipped. Have you already joined the “Boys Club”?