Tales of the displaced-A A +A
By Nef Luczon
Monday, September 30, 2013
EVEN though the government has already declared that the Zamboanga City crisis is over, there are still more things to be done after the armed conflict, which means recovery and restoration of a city involving thousands of displaced residents. In armed conflicts, it’s the people that bear the serious casualty, and it must be addressed.
Sometimes, I wonder if what is the worse situation a human being can experience within his/her lifetime: is it being displaced by a deadly natural calamity such as what happened in Tropical Storm Sendong and Pablo, or people-induced calamities caused by wars or conflict like just what happened in Zamboanga City and even in the areas of South Central Mindanao for years where some residents have been fleeing their homes due to the seemingly endless armed conflict in the region?
Picking up the pieces again and rebuilding new homes are perhaps the biggest challenge the government including nongovernment organizations are facing, instead of funneling more budget for ammunition and arms trade, there should also be a decent portion of the government’s purse intended for rehabilitation measures.
And that is why as Senator Jinggoy Estrada keeps mentioning of the hefty figures in millions of pesos vacuumed in what appears to be a misuse of public funds, which was also hurled against him, it bleeds to hear knowing that all these money were lost into the crocodiles’ bellies without benefiting the very people who are directly affected by armed conflicts in Mindanao over the years. It could have been a great help, it could have eradicated poverty.
Again, the situation of the displaced people in Zamboanga, and elsewhere in Mindanao areas that are suffering due to armed conflicts, is always a sad story. Other than the exhaustion that was caused by their uncomfortable stay in those makeshift tents, the trauma and stress they are experiencing might eventually change their perspective toward life.
Another worse that could happen is when propaganda from both sides of the clashing parties, and the media even amplify it that it forget to focus on the real casualties of the armed conflict.
In addition to that, displaced people are also to political opportunities, where politicians advance their political agenda by going “epal” through giving supplies of food, water, and clothes with their names on it, so that they will be remembered in the 2016 elections. That’s still so far, but for people who ambition to become the next ruler of this forsaken country, it is just a matter of time.
Meanwhile, last Saturday, a half Filipina representing the Philippines won the crown of a world beauty title that banners “beauty with a purpose,” of which the chosen winner for the year will embody a goal to help the people who are in need and visit places that need attention and recovery. It would be nice if she will start her goodwill outreach to the displaced people in Mindanao.
[Read: nefoi.blogspot.com, Comment: email@example.com]
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on September 30, 2013.