MANILA — The affected residents of the siege continue to suffer even the war between government security forces and a faction of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) had ended.
After the siege, residents were left homeless and forced to live in the evacuation centers for several months.
Unfortunately, death toll of evacuees has already reached more than 120 in the evacuation camps, of which more than 50 percent were children.
More than 64,000 remain displaced in evacuation centers and temporary shelter sites, most of them staying at the Joaquin Enriquez Memorial Grandstand.
As part of its Service for Peace program, the Teach Peace Build Peace Movement (TPBPM) collaborated with the Junior Chamber International (JCI) Manila through their “Oplan Damayan” project to help victims of the Zamboanga siege.
Also committed to the project were the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Young Moro Professionals Network (YMPN), a non-government organization composed of young Moros, whose primary purpose is to serve the common interests of the Bangsamoro people.
Through the project, the TPBPM received a donation of five 20 feet-container vans with relief goods such as food, mineral water, and new clothes, among others, which were shipped from Manila to Zamboanga through the help of the Philippine Span Asia Carrier Corporation.
JCI has been conducting the “Oplan Damayan” for years in order to help those who are in need in times of disasters.
“As a support to our brothers and sisters living in Zamboanga, JCI Manila and TPBPM, in partnership with YMPN and AFP, worked together in fulfilling their basic necessities. After seeing the heartbreaking situation of those affected residents in Zamboanga, we decided to turn over the goods we should be giving to the victims of Yolanda to the victims of the Zamboanga siege, since we think that they are the ones who are mostly in need,” said Steve Allen Tycangco, President of JCI Manila.
Rohaniza Sumndad-Usman, Founder and Executive Director of the TPBPM, emphasized the importance of “bayanihan” in helping people in Zamboanga.
She said, “While we acknowledge the efforts being made by our national and local officials, it is high time that we all work together in the spirit of bayanihan. The more solid support we can give to them in rebuilding their lives, the more hope we can instill in them.”
Gilberto Go, Vice-President of the Philippine Span Asia Carrier Corporation, highlighted the role of the private sector in helping Zamboanga.
“I thought that I should take an action to help the victims. If I don’t, who will? Except for the government agencies, it seems that the private business men had forgotten them. I am also inviting all of the entrepreneurs and businessmen from different parts of the world to please help the Zamboanga siege victims,” he said.
The TPBPM invites interested individuals to be part of its Service for Peace program. For inquiries, contact Bernadette Fernandez at 0915-848-0230 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.