OF THE PHILIPPINES                                             )
_________ Regular Session                                        )

S.B. No. __________

by Senator Grace L. Poe


The country's recent experiences when twin calamities hit Zamboanga City – the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) 20-day Siege of Zamboanga City and the flash floods that hit the City after the hostage-taking and burning of villages were dire experiences that merit national attention. On September 9, 2013 armed elements staged an attack, on Zamboanga City notwithstanding the presence of the AFP Western Mindanao Command at Barangays Baliwasan, Calarian and the Philippine National Police’ Directorate for Integrated Police Operation-Western Mindanao and the Police Regional Office Region IX, PNP Maritime Group headquarters at Barangay Sta. Barbara.

The MNLF armed band has ties to both the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Abu Sayyaf. Severely affected were Barangays Sta. Catalina, Sta. Barbara, Kasanyangan, Mariki and Rio Hondo. This was precluded by the arrest a day earlier, on September 8, 2013 of six (6) Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) by Zamboanga City Public Safety Company at Brgy. Rio-Hondo yielding two cal .45 pistols, ammunition and six sets of camouflage uniforms, The attack was perpetrated by heavily armed men of MNLF Misuari Faction in military fatigue uniform that landed in Zamboanga City led by Commanders Habier Malik, Ustadz Esmael Dasta, Hadjirin Handji Amin, Bas Arki, Asamin Hussini.

Their primary intention was to actualize their call for jihad vs. the infidel government, capture the City Hall of Zamboanga City and raise the MNLF Flag to highlight the demand of a Bangsamoro homeland. More rebels later landed in Brgy. Mampang and proceeded to Bgy. Sta. Barbara. The MNLF was blocked by security forces resulting in intense gun battle with MNLF taking civilian hostages as human shields. At gunpoint, hostages’ hands were tied and were made to line up at the frontline while the gun battle was raging. The hostages were used to make government forces stop firing. Armed MNLF rebels held fort in different places in aforementioned Barangays of the City. The MNLF relentlessly engaged government forces in gun battle resulting in several casualties from the sides of both government and rebels as well as among the civilian population and volunteers from outside of Zamboanga. MNLF burned residential houses and commercial buildings, causing damage to infrastructures, loss of valuable property and livelihood. The attack paralyzed, and caused widespread fear and panic among the residents of the, City.

Resulting from the Siege, are as follows:
1.  More than 120,000 persons displaced and evacuated.
2.  More than seventy nine (79) designated evacuation centers in the City were filled to the brim with displaced persons.
3.  Loss and damage to property estimated at more or less in the range of billions of pesos (further compounded by the recent coming of flash floods following the 20-day siege)
4.  Killed on MNLF side: 183
5.  Captured on MNLF side: 292
6.  Killed on the government side: 25
7.  Wounded on the government side: 184
8.  Civilians Killed: 12
9.  Civilians Wounded: 70
10.  Untold losses to Zamboanga-based and other agencies and private sector business establishments

Following the MNLF attack, an enormous flash flood brought the City to her knees. More major damages were observed resulting from this disaster. Several lives were lost to the enormous floods and among the populace, many suffered injuries. Zamboanga City infrastructure suffered damage in the aftermath of the floods of nearly One Hundred Million Philippine Pesos (PHP100-M). The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) office in Zamboanga City, according to its Officer-in-Charge, Allan Rommel R. Labayog, suffered flooding in the PHIVOLCS seismic vault and damaged the earthquake sensor equipment. These assessment form part of the early findings only on the overall worth of the destruction brought about by the calamity. This proposed bill seeks to put in place a Zamboanga Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Commission (ZRRC) that will be responsible for developing, formulating and implementing a Zamboanga City Rehabilitation and Development Plan. This measure emanates from a series of consultations with various stakeholders.  Trusting their conscientious intentions and depth of knowledge in the issues involved, the immediate enactment of this proposed measure into law is earnestly sought.

                                                                                            GRACE L. POE


Post a Comment