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Unity will prevent another Zamboanga siege - Climaco

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Mayor Beng Climaco exhorted Zamboangueños to stay united and cooperate with the authorities to prevent a repeat of the 2013 Zamboanga siege that killed at least 38 people and displaced thousands of families, some still remaining in transitory sites.

This, as the mayor spearheaded the activities commemorating the heroism of the fallen and living heroes of the Zamboanga siege Saturday afternoon at the City Hall grounds. “One very important lesson of the 2013 siege is that we, as a people of Zamboanga City – Christians, Lumads and Muslims, must be united in order to prevent another attack from happening again.”

While the police and military have the duty to protect the city from any and all threats, the residents have the responsibility to support and cooperate with security measures, she emphasized. “The city will be with you hand in hand to ensure that everyone is protected but we call for the support and cooperation of all residents.”

On the other hand, the chief executive said the activities held Saturday were to commemorate the valor, bravery and heroism of those who lost their lives in defense of the city and the flag during the siege that was perpetrated by members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

“It is a sense of indignation and a sense that we must continue on fighting for justice especially for those who have died,” the mayor declared in her message, as she also expressed prayers for the families that have suffered, who lost their homes and continue to suffer as a result of the 2013 attack.

Gratitude was also expressed to those who helped the city during the humanitarian phase up to the recovery and rehabilitation phases such as the camp managers, the humanitarian agencies, the civil society organizations (CSOs), international non- government organizations (INGOs).

The commemorative activities kicked off with a wreath laying rite at the marker established at the Veterans Memorial in Rizal Street in honor of the 38 people killed during the 21-day siege. The slain included 20 soldiers, 5 policemen and 13 civilians.

The wreath laying was followed by the Concert of Valor featuring the Cantamos Chorale of the Zamboanga City Polytechnic College and highlighted by the presentation of certificate of commendation to PSupt. Diomarie Albarico who served the city as OIC City Director for two times and certificates of appreciation to the medical team from the City Health office which joined the medical mission in Iligan City for the victims displaced by the Marawi siege that continues until today.

Joining Mayor Climaco were Vice Mayor Cesar Iturralde, District II Cong. Manuel Dalipe Jr., members of the City Council, department heads, PCSupt. Billy Beltran, PSSupt. Neri Ignacio, Col. Leonel Nicolas and other officials from different national and local government agencies. (Sheila Covarrubias/PR)




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