The continuing saga in Zamboanga

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By Gingging Avellanosa-Valle

Bahin sang Bubay

Friday, August 29, 2014


IN A week’s time, peace advocates will be commemorating the unfortunate "siege" in Zamboanga City but things are still not looking up in the city of flowers. Wounded and maimed from the "siege" that burnt not a few houses along the fringes, a number of mixed residents from the Moro and Christian settlers in the area were later forced to take shelter in a large stadium in the city and along street isles where many among them are experiencing a living "hell."

Unconfirmed news from peace advocates who have been frequenting the city describes the dismal living conditions of the victims who are still languishing in destitute hovels that are not fit for humans as shelter.

Many children are said to be getting sick by the hour, and sadder still are the situation of the young female refugees who are said to be victims or sexual violence.

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This makes us wonder if government functionaries have ceased to exist in this beautiful city. Why, pray tell me, are our brothers and sisters continue to be treated as “nuisance’ in their homeland?

There is also a dearth of information filtering through, but news have it a couple of months ago that Pres. BS Aquino have already given a sizable amount to the DPWH “targeting” to build over 7,000 house in different areas in the city and using some in rehabilitating damaged infrastructures.

Meanwhile, some of the refugees are becoming desperate as death continues to stalk them as aid come in trickles, an irony, as news have it that rich nations have not stop in sending aid for devastated communities.

It cannot be denied that with the approaching elections just around the bend, politicians are also positioning themselves to ensure that they get a sizable chunk of the pie, even if these are not intended for them. When will we ever be free from the kind of unscrupulous politicians that have lorded elections time and again.

Meanwhile, the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) that most residents in the Moro areas and other parts of Mindanao have been waiting for continues to be derailed. Many among our Moro friends are losing their optimism in the face of the delaying tactics that have seemingly kept this document to go public.

They say there’s going to be 200 or more pages in the BBL draft, and with the way that time seems to be running fast and furious, it seems so little chance is left for Mindanaoans to study carefully this milestone document. But what can we do but wait, while our Moro brothers and sisters could no longer sustain, and are getting restless.

Do we stand by and wait for another man-made disaster to happen while many are dying among internally displaced people, which are clearly preventable? Because when we do become fence-sitters and just "wait and see," we become tools of injustices that abound in our midst.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 30, 2014.

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