Thousands gather for heroes’ tribute PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 03 December 2013 10:49

Thousands of people mostly city government employees and officials headed by Mayor Beng Climaco, police and military officers including students and teachers from different colleges and universities gathered yesterday morning at City Hall grounds for fitting ceremonies dubbed Tribute to Heroes.

The more than one hour program that started with the usual flag raising ceremony was aimed at honoring those killed in action, when Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) fighters loyal to Nur Misuari engaged government forces in fierce gun battle for 23 days last September, triggering a recorded humanitarian crisis in this part of the country.

Honored heroes for defending Zamboanga City against MNLF invasion were 20 members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, namely: PO3 Jose Audrey A. Bañares, PN; PFC Julmuin J. Abdulahid, PA; PFC Jeffrey N. Castillo, PN; Cpl. Mark Herson G. Caranzo, PA; Cpl. Michael G. Baltazar, PA; PFC Albin P. Dayna, PA; Pvt. Sergio T. Buagas Jr., PA; Cpl. Allan R. Camerino, PA; PFC Jay P. Olivar, PA; 1Lt. John Kristopher B. Rama, PA; SSg. Josefino B. Servilla, PA; 2Lt. Florencio Mikael E. Meneses; 1Lt. Francis G. Damian, PA; Cpl. Jesichris N. Reyeg, PA; Cpl. Joseph M. Custodio, PA; PFC Juffel G. Olaer, PN; PFC Efren Pareñas, PN; Cpl. Eduardo C. Saquiang, PN; PFC Ian O. Paquit, PA, and; Cpl. Hakim I. Jaafer, PA.

Also honored were PO2 Christopher R. Hernaez, SAF; PO3 Murphy Abbilani, ZCPO; Insp. Jay Oy-oyan, ZCPO; PO2 Enrique Espejo Afable III, SAF, and; PO2 Lawin Balokey Salisa, SAF, all members of the Philippine National Police.

The siege also claimed the lives of 13 civilians mostly hostages, who were also honored during the ceremonies. They were Bernie S. Electora, Henry Salasain, Francisco Macrohon, Bakir Daud, Victor F. Manuel, Raymundo Cepada, Joemi Eithan Ando, Ruben Limen, Artlouie Guopio, Norman G. Lladores, Maliton Orquillo, Hudson Guinilac and Allison.

The names of these heroes were engraved in a metal plate before which Mayor Climaco together with Vice Mayor Cesar Iturralde and some members of the City Council offered a wreath followed by the singing of “Bayan Ko” (in Chabacano) by Twina Campos.

Three children read their personalized letters, giving their thanks and gratitude to the heroes. Vice Mayor Iturralde then read a City Council resolution, honoring those killed during the siege and commending people and organizations who in one way or another helped those affected by the crisis.

Mayor Climaco presented certificates of commendation and appreciation to individuals and organizations for their invaluable support and services rendered at the height of the crisis, foremost of which were the Western Mindanao Command,  the Philippines National Police (regional and city offices), Department of Social Welfare and Development, Western Mindanao State University, Zamboanga City State Polytechnic College, Zamboanga State College of Marine Sciences and Technology, Southern City Colleges, among others.

Highlighting the program was the announcement, lifting the curfew hours effective yesterday (Dec. 2) pursuant to a resolution of the Crisis Management Committee chaired by the mayor herself.

To recall, the CMC imposed the curfew on Day 1 of the siege (Sep. 9) from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. In October, when the city was declared back to normal the curfew hours were moved to 12 midnight to 4 a.m. — Vic Larato