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Rido and Conflict Resolution Post-Ramadan

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I’ve been to places for work and for leisure, and most of the time, it was for work.  It still is.  Facebook, emails, Twitter, Skype, and Viber just shrunk the world, really. Wherever I go, I still call Zamboanga City home.

Some concerned friends have also admonished me against writing once again with Zamboanga Today, my journalistic nest for about eight years, I’d say. They do not wish me hurt again, I know, but journalism is one profession that really risks a battery of criticisms, positive and foul. Hence I heeded more to the prodding of others, the most recent being a page neighbor, Arsenio Nuevo, a media personality in Zamboanga I respect and consider as a father with his son Lito being a college friend. Thank you, Rawhide. And thank you, Mr. Alfred Lim, for always opening the doors of the press office here to me.

When I got back from my offshore base a couple of weeks ago, I actually paid a visit to the new chief executive, Mayor Beng Climaco-Salazar.  I was surprised to see her in full military uniform, but I was informed by her most trusted government colleague, and our common friend, Mike Saavedra, that she was just conferred an honorary rank in the Philippine Army as a reservist. That was quite a sigh of relief I breathed out there.  For a moment, I thought Zamboanga, my home, was getting into full military circle.

And why should that fleeting thought worry me?  As I was on my way to the Zamboanga City Hall that I as a citizen am proud to look at, I glimpsed at the huge sign hung at the Universidad de Zamboanga wall that provided an updated figure on the killings in the city.  Yes, these are unsettled murder cases that have not been resolved and closed due to the absence of witnesses, the lack of evidence, the characters involved in the crime and their influence, the unknown whereabouts of the actual offender(s) and in some cases the mastermind, and though outrightly denied, the involvement of police personnel, soldiers, and elements of private armies and armed lawless groups.

In the past years when Celso Lobregat was the mayor, many were pointing a finger at him for his alleged weak leadership and failure to address the criminality issue that continues to boggle Zamboanga.  Lobregat is now Congressional representative and the spate of killings seem to continue.  This actually should make us realize that he never was the root—his leadership as city mayor then was however the most convenient excuse or many of us to rant.  I am not taking this space to provide another pseudo-rational alibi.  However, I look at rido as among the probable factors.

One ongoing rido case for police authorities to probe is the unreported killings in Lower Calarian and Stanvac, two communities closest to the military facility in Zamboanga City.  Two families are warring right now—the Jambiran and Jalao families.  The family feud apparently started with the kids’ fight—children at play that just did not work out, for very minute childish misunderstanding.  But an elder apparently came in, threatening the poor minor by pointing a gun at his mouth, up close.  The killing began, and revenge led to the beheading of a family member, and the murder of a policeman.  Owing to the traditional burial requirement in Islam, the headless body was wrapped six feet below the ground within the period of Ramadan.

Three things should be considered here:  one, the state of peace by uninvolved residents in the two  communities; two, the threat to bomb by one family of the Petron Gas Station in Lower Calarian; and three, the proximity of the conflict area not just to an ordinary military facility, but to the Western Command (in the event Number Two is carried out).

Ramadan has just ended.  Residents who are non-parties fear that the situation will worsen as members are professing revenge.

From the above, will anyone in government please consider looking into the context, the background, and the parties involved in the conflict?  I look forward to write about the resolution to this case, and the peaceful reconciliation of both clans.  Salaam.

(Frencie Carreon, La Chica Viajera, for Zamboanga Today)




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