ZAMBO CRISIS ORDEAL : Hostage tells how she led 66 other hostages escape PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 29 October 2013 11:08

The “war’ in Zamboanga City is over! Yet different stories of people who came to be part of the Zamboanga crisis linger on.

Discovery Zamboanga, a group of local development communicators, has discovered a heroine among the almost 200 hostages held by rebels of the Moro National Liberation Front Misuari faction who attacked Zamboanga City last Sept.9.

Raishen Mae Evangelio,  an 18-year-old food technology student of the Zamboanga State College of Marine Sciences and Technology, was one of those held hostage. This comely lady together with her schoolmates were dragged from their boarding house in Sta Barbara on that fateful Sept. 9 attack staged by the MNLF Nur Misuari faction. But she did something extraordinary for she led the escape of some 66 other hostages.

Here’s Discovery Zamboanga’s exclusive interview with Raishen:

DZ: How was life as a hostage victim?

Raishen: It was hard!! You don’t know what to do if you were in that situation because our lives were at stake.

DZ: What was your experience during the first day? Have you thought of dying?

Raishen: Yes!! Because during the first day I was really scared, since that was my first time to experience something like that.

DZ: What made you decide to escape from the MNLF?

Raishen: My family and my companions (hostage victims) because they already lost their hope of surviving as some of our companions (we learned) were killed.

DZ:  How was your plan to escape carried?

Raishen: We planned it but nothing happened because the MNLF kept their eyes on us. It was on the 9th day when the  MNLF rebels loosened their attention on us so I said we need to pursue with my plan. My first plan was to hide in the underground, but I doubted if it would work.

DZ: How did you lead the group since you were 66?

Raishen: I talked to them (fellow hostages) and I gave them instructions. I told them to drop and crawl… and just follow me.  When military men approached us, I told them to take off their shirts and wave them up so that the military would know that we were hostages and not MNLF.

DZ: Where did you hide? When did you feel that you were really safe? Did the military rescue you?

Raishen: Since we were in a house we passed through the back because at that time the MNLF rebels were busy packing up their things and they lost their attention on us. I gave sign to my companions and that’s it!  No, the military didn’t rescue us. And when we reached Camp Batalla (at Cawa-Cawa), that was the time I cried then…

DZ:  What was the worst experience you had as a hostage victim?

Raishen: My experience … I forgot…..oh gosh,,,,,,ahm ,,,,I just cried because of the gunshots  and explosions I heard. My worst was last September 13 and it was Friday the 13th when I saw some of my companions died just in front of me and one MNLF rebel was lying dead just beside me—I was so shocked!

DZ: What is your realization after the war?

Raishen: To save more lives! And I am willing to protect my country against lawless elements. That’s why I dreamed of our heroes —the soldiers  who risked their lives in order to save more lives. I also want to fight for our rights.

DZ: How was the feeling as a heroine of 66 hostage victims?

Raishen: I feel blessed and thankful because I led and was able to save 66 lives. I thank God for giving me strength and self confidence. — Peligrino Arbonida/Discovery Zamboanga