Zambo marks ‘Special Day of Remembrance’ PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 09 September 2015 11:23

by Vic Larato

At dawn today, two years ago, Zamboanga City was caught by surprise when more than 500 heavily armed Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) fighters swooped down on the coastal villages and marched to City Hall purportedly to hoist their flag.

But, they failed. Alert personnel of the Regional Public Safety Company opened fire at the MNLF fighters loyal to Nur Misuari, prompting the attackers to seize hundreds of civilians, including children and used them as human shields.

Fierce gun battle erupted for 23 days where government forces had to use all their air, ground and sea assault assets against the attackers. The siege left 35—15 soldiers, 5 police officers and 12 civilians— fatalities and displaced close to 120,000 people from the affected barangays, resulting in a humanitarian crisis.

Today, two years after, the city government headed by Mayor Beng Climaco remembers the infamous Zamboanga siege with special tribute for the fallen heroes and those who stood firm and fought hard in defense of the city and its people—united under one flag, one nation and one Zamboanga.

Dubbed “A Special Day of Remembrance,” today’s tribute will start with a mass at 7 a.m. at Christ the King Chapel at Martha Drive, Sta. Catalina, where a testimonial program follows at 8 a.m. Mass blood donation will likewise be conducted.

At 8:30 a.m., Mayor Climaco leads city officials and guests to the Coast Guard pier from where they ride a boat to Sumariki Island, one of the important locations of the siege, for the tribute program that will be more of prayers for peace: Salamat Duwaa, Interfaith Prayer Service, testimonials, etc.

At 4:30 this afternoon, Mayor Climaco presides over the wreath-laying at the memorial marker of Fallen Heroes, Veterans Memorial Park. It will be followed by the signing of Interfaith Council Resolution, declaring babies born on Sept. 9, 2013 as “Children of Hope.”

The photo gallery billed “Dos Años Despues” will then open at the lobby of City Hall.— Vic Larato