Zambo crisis not an issue of faith — Beng PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 17 September 2013 13:48

Mayor Beng Climaco has emphasized that crisis situation in Zamboanga City is not an issue of religion neither is it an issue between Muslims and Christians but a conflict between government forces and  misguided elements.

The mayor’s pronouncement came on the heels of reports circulating on the social media and other sectors that the Zamboanga crisis, now on its 9th day, is a problem of religion.

“This is not a problem of religion because we dearly love our Muslims, Christians and the Lumads in the city,” Climaco told the news conference Sunday afternoon.

“Let us not speculate and push further this divide as this will not help in solving the current situation of this city. This is an issue of those misguided people whose ideologies had been founded with the use of arms, ultimately to inflict terror to our people,” she added.

“Our hearts bleed for the Army integree who was killed in the encounter; my heart bleeds for the mother who mourns the loss of her new-born baby who died of tetanus ; my heart  bleeds for the soldiers who have given their lives and those who continue to risk their lives just to protect our people and our territory,” the lady mayor further said.

The Muslim and Christian religious leaders, who were present during the press conference, also supported the mayor’s statement, disclaiming the so-called religious conflict.

The Muslim Students Association headed by Sheik Mahier Gustaham in a statement categorically denied a report on the social media that he had called for Jihad (holy war) against the Christians.

“That (report) is not true. In fact, I have been here supporting the city government under Mayor Beng,” Gustaham said.

Similar statement was issued by the Inter-Religious Group headed by Fr. Sebastiano D’Ambra, calling for solidarity and harmony among all residents of Zamboanga City, regardless of their faiths.

According to the mayor, there has been no discrimination in reaching out to the people, so much so that all services are accorded to all those who need them.

“This is what unity means and that is what we are doing. The crisis in our city encompasses race or creed. And as a people, we cannot give in to allegations at this time when we are in the frontline of putting a halt to this and begin rebuilding and restoring what has been lost in Zamboanga City for the past 7 days,” Climaco said.

She thanked the Muslim students and religious leaders for reaching out to the Crisis Management Committee to clear allegations on faith as reported earlier.

To those responsible for the crisis, Mayor Climaco had this strong statement: “I hold you responsible and accountable for the lives of the dead, the houses burned and the hostages still suffering. May you be met with the full force of the law.”

She urged Zamboanguenos to keep praying for a peaceful resolution of the crisis. “If only I had my way, I want this (crisis) finished the soonest possible time,” she reiterated.

She said the troops are still out there, keeping the fight for the city and the people.

“We continue to support them in all their efforts to finally put this atrocity to end. There is no let-up in our work for peace. Zamboanga City is our home and we shall do everything to safeguard our home and the families we have here,” the mayor declared. — Vic Larato