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Friday, September 11, 2015

Netizens remember Zambo siege 2 years after

By Dominic I. Sanchez

ZAMBOANGA CITY – Two years after the infamous Zamboanga siege on September 9 yesterday, Zamboangueño netizens relive their memories by sharing “throwback photos” and posts on social media.

Many remember the vivid gunshots, the mortars, the bombardments, the evacuations and the curfew. However, many more remember the bravery and resiliency that the people of Zamboanga showed in that time of adversity.

Here are some of the posts:

“2nd year Anniversary of Zamboanga Siege, and all the memories are coming back,” posted Jill Iiee on Facebook.

“Durante el Zamboanga Siege talli el tiempo donde hinde iyo ta puede bolbe na casa siendo ta necesita que reporta cada hora y espera con grande noticia que ay rebenta,” (The Zamboanga siege was the time when I could not go home since I had to report the events every hour and wait for developments) shared Kikay Taola, a local journalist.

She continued, “pero ta vusca iyo siempre tiempo para bolbe y asegura cae na bien mio dos anak. Talli el dia que ta bolbe iyo donde ya llena sila deila bagpack de ropa para entalcaso daw anda maga rebelde, kore yalang sila dayun”. (But I had to look for ways to go home to make sure that my two children are safe. There was a time when I was able to come home when I saw my children prepare their backpacks in case the rebels would come and there is a need to evacuate.)

“Sept. 9, 2013... It’s been two years… it’s been an experience for me being in the middle of the gunshots and mortars,” shared Oyette Villares Bandiez.

Other netizens seem to find it hard to believe that two years had already passed since the siege.

“2 years na gale since Zamboanga siege happened,” Krizia Mei Julian-Yvanoff Camoro twitted.

Some contemplated on the present situation, and asked whether the crisis is indeed over. In a post shared by Alexis Roa Baldia, he recounted, “today, I couldn’t help but wonder, did the war really end? Did the crisis really stop? Have we left them (IDPs) with an even greater battle?”

Baldia continues: “Today, may we remember, but more importantly, may we find the courage and wisdom to truly see that despite ample and significant efforts, there is more to be done.”

Ramada Jose shares her concern over the still difficult situation of the internally-displaced persons (IDPs).

“Magdadalawang taon na. nagtitis pa rin sa loob ng ng Marikih, wala pang permanent bahay maging bunkhouse wala pa rin natapos,” (It’s been two years, the IDPs are still suffering inside the elementary school of Marikih, the permanent houses are still not finished) Jose lamented.

Queenie Casimiro, an ABS-CBN broadcaster commented on the bravery of the firefighters, who were just as dedicated to their jobs as the armed forces.

“At one point these firefighters were accused of not doing their job. Na hinayaan lang nilang masunog ang mga bahay dahil tropa ng gobyerno daw ang nanunog. But these photos show how these firemen braved the heat caused both by the fire and sniper fires,” (Firefighters were accused of leaving the burning houses since people accused government troops themselves of starting the fires) Casimiro said.

Meanwhile, Ulysses John Pagente Almocera, a humanitarian worker said:

“It was two years ago when I was awakened by the noise of gun shots. I went to my dorm’s living room and everyone was watching TV; a video of a soldier who fell down while he was running with his platoon was being played over and over again. I was confused. Is there a commotion somewhere in Zamboanga or am I just watching another spoof show where they are trying to make fun of that soldier? The TV commentators were speaking in Chabacano and I can only understand a few words.”

“I received calls and texts from my mom. She was worried. I told her I'll just stay at home. After a few hours, I received messages from friends asking if I can volunteer at the Grandstand to help feed the IDPs... I went to the grandstand without my mom’s permission. Little did I know that it would be the start of my career as a humanitarian.”

Yesterday, the city government held several activities in remembrance of that fateful day in 2013, and the series of events that followed afterwards.

Mayor Beng Climaco emphasized that “we should remember those who fought for the safety and security of the city during those times of trials.”