Editorial: From one whammy to another-A A +A
Monday, September 23, 2013
THE Zamboanga City siege has reached a ravaging humanitarian crisis.
President Benigno Simeon Aquino III said he takes responsibility of the government’s actions to end the crisis saying, “I am both the Commander in Chief and the President, therefore, at the end of the day, everything is my responsibility,” a national daily quoted Aquino telling reporters in Zamboanga City on September 19.
The military has been holding calibrated offensives to contain the remaining 30-40 Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) rebels holed up in about three to seven hectare area in the coast.
For how long will this continue? How many more will die? How long will the children stay out of school? We could only ask many questions as we see the Zambo crisis unfolds each day.
The enormity of the destruction is beyond comprehension.
Yes, the MNLF chose a strategic place to vent their ire against the perceived seclusion of the group from the current peace talks between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) forces. Too strategic that it has blown Zamboanga’s human economy out of proportion as people have stopped working for more than two weeks now because businesses had to close. Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar vowed the city would remain resilient despite the billions of economic losses as the crisis enters its 15th day today.
While the man-made crisis goes on, here comes Typhoon Odette (international codename: Usagi) that battered Batanes with signal no. 3. Thank God, the Ivatans survived it without lives lost, but definitely like the resilient Filipino they will rise to rehabilitate and rebuild the destruction the typhoon lashed. But in any typhoon that hit the country, it isn’t only the landfall that we look out for, it is the inundation that it comes with. Metro Manila is drenched and it is hoped it won’t flood like hell. Else, it is another whammy that the Filipinos will be confronting.
In every crisis, the Filipino spirit of cooperation never falters. In many parts of the country today, civil society groups, churches, academic institutions, nongovernment organizations, foundations among others have been collecting donations for Zamboanga. We hope Typhoon Odette won’t add up to the Zambo crisis.
And there is another whammy that hit the country – the ‘pork’ barrel scam, the greed whammy. A kind of whammy that is appalling as it entails billions of pesos siphoned to the pockets of a handful few. These billions of pesos could have been spent to fund the poor regions of the country. Perhaps, this Zambo crisis didn’t have to happen.
When will the leaders of this country ever learn to truly resolve roots of this conflict?
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on September 23, 2013.