Candle lighting seals Zambo’s remembrance of Sept. 9 siege PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 11 September 2014 11:57

Zamboangueños from all walks of life lighted candles outside their homes and business establishments Tuesday night to culminate the daylong activities in commemoration of the events on September 9, 2013 when armed followers of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) invaded the city.

The candle lighting ceremony started at 6:30 p.m. in front of City Hall where city officials headed by Mayor Beng Climaco, Vice Mayor Cesar Iturralde, members of the City Council, department heads and employees together with District 1 Rep. Celso Lobregat, police and military officers gathered for a short program before they lighted candles altogether.

In her message, Climaco said the candle lights symbolized the people’s burning faith in God and Nuestra Señora La Virgen del Pilar for continuously protecting the city.

“We are here to give our thanks foremost to God Almighty, the police and military who defended us, all those who risked their lives in defense of the city during the siege,” Climaco said.

Also present were Zamboanga City Archbishop Romulo dela Cruz, other religious leaders, business leaders, students and teachers.

Vice Mayor Iturralde also read the City Council Resolution commending soldiers and policemen who defended the city from the malefactors.

Early on, an ecumenical service was held at Centro Latino of Paseo del Mar where Christian and Muslim religious leaders including those from other faiths gave their prayers for peace, unity and harmony among the people of Zamboanga.

Climaco recalled that when the siege broke out at dawn of Sept. 9, 2013, the first thing she did was to secure the civilian populace by declaring no classes in all levels and no work “because that is my mandate as chief executive”.

She said from Sept. 9 to 28 with the guidance and leadership of President Aquino our goal was to protect all the hostages from harm as they be used as human shields by the rebels against the advancing government troops.

“But most importantly,” Climaco said, “we are here in honor of Ethan Ando, a two—year-old boy, who was shot in the forehead and died in the crossfire and was held hostage twice.” She said the boy did not deserve to die and his life was precious.

In a forceful voice, Mayor Climaco rallied all the people of city to rise up and stand in defense of Zamboanga “because Zamboanga City belongs to us and we will never again allow any group to take it from us.”

“This is our time to stand up, to rise and build back a better Zamboanga of the Christians, of the Muslims, of the Lumads and together with the grace of God we will succeed,” she declared in a forceful voice. — Vic Larato