Zamboanga residents want 'normal, quiet life' back
MANILA – “We want to have our normal, quiet life.”
This is the general sentiment of Zamboanga City residents who were displaced due to the standoff between government troops and rebels of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), according to Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman.
Soliman flew to Zamboanga to assist the displaced families, who had to flee their homes when armed men of the MNLF went around the streets of several Zamboanga barangays on Monday.
She said an estimated 4,000 families or 13,000 individuals have been affected by the standoff.
As of Wednesday, around 9,000 evacuees are calling an open sports complex their home. Some are staying in other evacuation centers in other parts of the city.
Soliman said tents and portalets from Manila are expected to arrive Thursday morning.
Food packs will also be sent to the evacuation centers.
Soliman said apart from the disorder the standoff has caused, there is also fear and confusion among the residents.
She said that a number of residents do not agree with the actions of the faction of MNLF rebels, led by Nur Misuari.
"The people that I’ve met and had a short conversation with, they’re not happy at all with what he [Misuari] has done,” Soliman told ANC’s “Prime Time.”
She added that the Department of Health will set up tents to address the trauma and stress that the residents are experiencing because of the fighting.
Wednesday was Day 3 of the Zamboanga siege, with at least 170 civilians still believed to be held hostage and used as “human shields” by the rebels. [www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/regions/09/11/13/13000-flee-third-day-zamboanga-siege]
The military said at least 12 people have been killed and 21 others injured in the firefights.