Zambo remembers 23-day siege today PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 09 September 2014 13:20

Zamboanga City today remembers the darkest moments of its modern history when more than 200 armed followers of Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding Chairman Nur Misuari surprised the sleeping residents by invading at early dawn on September 9 six barangays and later took hostages dozens of people.

The MNLF rebels marched on the streets of Sta. Catalina and were on their way to City Hall to raise their flag of independence. But government forces quickly resisted, prompting the rebels to pull civilians along the way as their human shields. Fierce gun battles then ensued and lasted for 23 days.

The government reported that nearly 200 people were killed, including 167 MNLF rebels, 18 soldiers, and five policemen. Clearing operations were then put in place, and records showed that the city sustained millions of pesos in damages and about 118,819 people from 14 villages were affected and evacuated mostly to the grandstand and Cawa-Cawa shorelines.

The city government is currently in the thick of recovery and reconstruction efforts following the build back better strategy of the Zamboanga City Roadmap to Recovery and Reconstruction (Z3R) Plan, with most of the families displaced by the siege already moved to transitory sites before their transfer to permanent homes under construction.

Today’s activities dubbed will kick off with a Holy Mass at 7 a.m. at Martha Drive chapel to be followed by blessing of the turned over houses in the area.

At 8 a.m., “Kahapan Masaga Mariki” groundbreaking ceremony of houses on stilts led by the National Housing Authority in Barangay Mariki; 9 a.m. “Kasajahitraan Ha Bahgu Paniran” turnover of housing units in Barangay Sta. Catalina.

In the afternoon, the activities will start at 1:30 with an art exhibit dubbed “Alegria en Artes para los Niños y Niñas” at the second floor lobby of City Hall.

At 3 p.m. all church bells will ring altogether for a call to prayer to be led by the archdiocese of Zamboanga to be followed by “Honoring the Heroes, Commemorating the BrAVE, United in Defending the Flag” Ecumenical Services at Plaza del Pilar.

A Holly Mass will follow at Fort Pilar Shrine and at 6 p.m. the citywide candle lighting for peace and healing of Zamboanga City dubbed “Luz de Ezperanza”. – Vic Larato