Beng to youth leaders: ‘We are in very painful, difficult journey’ PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 15 October 2013 14:05

Mayor Beng Climaco has reminded the Muslim and Christian youth leaders of Zamboanga City that after the 22-day siege Zamboangueños, regardless of faiths and cultures, are now in a painful and difficult journey towards recovery.

“When we go in a journey, it is very painful to us, it is very difficult but I will need your help because after all Zamboanga City belongs to all of us, most especially for the future of the children,” Mayor Climaco told the youth leaders in ecumenical gathering yesterday morning at the Garden Orchid Hotel.

Organized by the Asia Foundation and the National Ulama Conference of the Philippines through Secretary General Prof. Alih Ayub ans Sheik Maher Gustaham, the gathering of youth leaders from various faiths was intended to make the participants overcome whatever trauma or negative feelings they may have following the gunbattle between the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) fighters and the government forces in six barangays of the city from September 9 to 30.

Climaco said the siege had displaced 23,794 families or 118,819 individuals housed in 32 evacuation centers with 195 hostages being rescued. Also affected were 15 colleges and 3 universities not counting the 25 schools used as evacuation centers with 20,379 affected student population.

“Aside from the physical destruction caused by the war, the dreams and aspirations of our children were also shuttered as well. And at this point in time, Zamboanga City more than ever needs you. With all the problems that the incident had caused the city, I cannot do it alone,” Climaco said.

She said this is the right time when Zamboangueños, especially the youth, must unleash the hero in them “by understanding out strength, weaknesses, values and worldviews.”

“Unleash the hero in you by confidently innovating and adapting to embrace a changing world, engaging others with a positive, loving attitude, and energizing ourselves and others through heroism,” the lady chief executive challenged the youth leaders.

In her talk, Climaco engaged the youths in personal interaction by asking them about the good memories they have had about Zamboanga City prior to the siege, what are their dreams and how they could go through the sad experiences.

She also showed a CNN video interview of a Muslim school girl affected by war in the Middle East in which the girl talked about the children’s right to education and the right to be heard. “It speaks about the importance of education in every child’s growth.”— Vic Larato