THE ZAMBOANGA ISSUE:
RISING FROM THE ASHES Inside This Issue:!
Effects of the Crisis
The Zamboanga City Crisis
What Can We Do? Tips To Rebuild Our
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WE CAN REBUILD OUR NATION. Yes, we mean it. I, you, all of us. We can make a better Philippines. Look inside to find out. Authors: Martin Bonifacio, Sedrick Keh, Kyle Lee Uy, Jeffrey Limpo, Quade Ong
Not yet, Rizal,
Sleep not in peac"
- Rafael Zulueta da Costa (from Like the Molave)
NATION BUILDING: HOPE FOR A BRIGHTER TOMORROW As we take a look at this country we have grown up to know, we ask ourselves: Is this really the Philippines? Is this really the land full of resources the Spaniards wanted so badly? Are these really the people our ancestors sacrificed their lives to grant independence? Is this really the nation-state that survived around 400 years of foreign rule? Sad to say, much has changed since then...
What has happened to our youth, our supposed ‘hopes of the future’? The hopes have been slowly diminishing into darkness. With so much happening like corruption and wars that devastate our country, one would start wondering if it’s really possible to fix what has been damaged. One would wonder whether it is possible to rebuild our nation? Truly, Rizal cannot sleep in peace. Not yet.....
In the following paragraphs, we take a look at an incident that shook the country, changing it for the years to come - the Zamboanga crisis. Not so long ago, a tragic crisis occurred right before our very eyes, taking the lives of many innocents and combatants. On September 8, 2013, around 200 Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) rebels under leader Nur Misuari tried to raise the Bangsamoro Republik flag on the Zamboanga City Hall, hoping for this to mark their independence from the Philippine government. However, in the eyes of us bystander Filipinos, this would mark the beginning of a historic and terrible event - the Zamboanga City crisis.
History of the Feud: Basically the MNLF want their own nation-state, they want territory and sovereignty, but this has come in conflict with the Philippine Government. A peace treaty was signed last 1996 creating the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) to grant lands to these rebels. However, this recent declaration of the Bangsamoro Republic came immediately after President Benigno Noynoy Aquino said that the government was closing in on a peace deal with the rival group of the MNLF, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). It was said that this deal put away the deal they had back in 1996. According to reports, Nur Misuari was angered by this situation and decided to start a rebellion against the government, thus attacking Zamboanga.
The Early Crisis Around 11:00PM of September 8, 2013, there were attacks near the coastal barangay of Rio Hindo in Zamboanga. It was formally announced by Zamboanga Mayor Beng Climaco on September 9 that the MNLF forces have entered Zamboanga city. Early morning that day, around 6 boatloads of MNLF rebels came and they entered the territory of the city. There were around 300 people held hostage on the first day and several countries had already issued travel advisories to their citizens to avoid travel to Zamboanga. Houses were burnt, evacuations began, and people lived in fear.
The Days to Come The MNLF would continue bombing. The Philippine government, represented by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) would take the responsibility of keeping the people safe. Buildings were burnt. Gunshots were exchanged. People were killed. Hostages were held. Rebels were captured. You could call it an all-out war
The End of a Long Battle After 20 days, it was declared that the crisis was now over. According to Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, the Zamboanga
standoff was now over. However they are still searching for Commander Habier Malik, who was reported to have been the one to lead the MNLF rebel forces. According to AFP public affairs unit head Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala said that: "Naniniwala tayo they are already defeated (We believe they are already defeated." ) However, there are still reports of after-war skirmishes or attacks. Based on the latest tally conducted, there are 167 MNLF rebels killed and 247 of them have been arrested. The military on the other hand had 18 soldiers dead and 167 of them wounded. It was also said that more than 10,000 houses have been burned, and 120,000 people have fled and evacuated to safer areas. Also, as of Septmeber 30, 2013, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said that the allocated budget for the rebuilding of the damages would amount to about P200,578,000. A Chain Network It’s fascinating how one event can create a domino effect to an entire chain of events. Looking at how this Zamboanga crisis changed the country, one just can’t simply say ‘this political effect happened because of that’. Everything is just so intertwined with each other, bound together by the chains of cause and effect, except that it’s not really a chain. It’s a network of interwoven links so close together that a single pull can alter the flow of the entire network. Having said that, we see that the network we speak of is our beloved nation-state, the Philippines. A single pull on a chain, the Zamboanga crisis, completely changes the shift of our nation’s tides. A mishap in Zamboanga can alter the lives of even our government and even us civilians here in Metro Manila. Here’s how.
POLITICAL EFFECTS! Fearless in the face of adversity, our government took this issue head on, sending their own troops/army to Zamboanga. Although it may be true that they were successful in protecting civilians (to some extent) and in driving away the MNLF rebels, considering that it took around 20 days, and still there were many properties destroyed and people who died, this is hardly a decisive victory. The Philippine government has undeniably been severely wounded by the bullet of this crisis.
Where is the faith? In times like this, it is inevitable for fear to drive citizens of the country to lose faith in the national government. Filipinos, even those not living in Zamboanga, would wonder whether or not the government and its forces can truly keep the whole country safe. They would wonder whether or not it would still be wise to put their fates in the hands of the government and its forces, especially if this were to happen again in a larger scale. However, frankly, this cannot and should not be. Taking note that two aspects of the nation-state are its people and its government, these two entities must be united and act as one for the nation-state to function properly. If the people start doubting the government, the nation-state is sacrificing its effectivity. If people don’t trust the government, then can we still truly call it a ‘government’? Ultimately, trust is the string that binds together the people and the ruling body. Cut this thin string and the nationstate will crumble. The Zamboanga incident was an attempt at the cut, but whether or not it succeeded or failed, that is now in the hands of the Filipino people and its government.
Disputes Within This Zamboanga event may also have caused internal turmoil within the Philippine administration. Within the government, the officials might have lost trust in each other. Those in position might begin to put the blame on one another. The cabinet might lose faith in the president. An official might start thinking another official to be incapable, thus unworthy for position. For instance, reports have cited that some senators have accused that the funds of the MNLF has come from the Pork Barrel Scam. Furthermore, people in office have began to put the blame on each other as exemplified in reports claiming that Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago accusing Senator Juan Ponce Enrile for funding the MNLF. If this play continues, it could escalate into all out civil war and the government could crumble, marking the day when dark curtains will finally close on our beloved nation-state.
Foreign Reputation Our reputation to the other nations have might also be ruined. This crisis will reflect on the type of governance we have here in the Philippines. The leaders of the other countries might view us as incapable, weak, and not trustworthy. They might slowly distance themselves from us, and isolation from other countries will not only hinder our government from improving, it will also put a halt to the rapid growth and development of our country as a whole. 3
! ECONOMIC EFFECTS For the Philippines to experience such crisis, the tower that we call our economy crumbles. This is terrifying because without economy, the nation won’t have money, and without money, our nation becomes vulnerable to attack, the Filipinos will become poorer and have a lower standard of living, thus resulting to more deaths. Ultimately, since people constitute one factor of the nation state, this will lead to the fall of our nation-state if we Filipinos don’t do something to stop the problem.
The Immediate Problems Of course, as a direct result to the problem, the stores within the battle vicinity will have to close down. Businesses will lose money. The citizens will become poor. Also, if supermarkets or bakeries close down, food inside (resources) are wasted. Furthermore, Zamboanga is rich in resources, with their products being exported even to Metro Manila and some even abroad. Some large companies have their factories set in Zamboanga. With this incident, the economy in Zamboanga comes to a halt, the exporting market stops, and not only are we deprived of the products from Zamboanga, the Zamboangeños will also continue to get poorer and poorer. However, this will not only affect Zamboanga, it will continue as a ripple effect and spread even to neighboring provinces and ultimately to the entire Philippines.
Budget Issues Government budget is spent on military, on providing relief for the victims, and for rebuilding the damages. Recovery is expensive, even for our government. Now that the incident is here, it is mandatory for the government to spend on these, but if the incident never happened, our country could have saved billions.
Furthermore, as stated in the political effects, this affects our reputation with other countries. First of all, our tourism industry will deteriorate. Many countries like Canada and UK have already issued travel advisories against traveling not only to Zamboanga but to our country. The Philippines is viewed as ‘unsafe’, and if we lose our tourism industry, we lose about 5% of our country’s total revenue. Furthermore, foreign investors would stop investing in the Philippines. Though our country is rich with resources, we are beginning to viewed as ‘unsafe’, and on top of that, other nations have lost trust in our nation and its people. And the chain continues. One negative attitude of a Filipino would be their lack of nationalism. Seeing events like this happen, sooner or later, the Filipino will begin to have the same attitude as the foreigners, thinking that the Philippines is 'trash'. Events like these will lead Filipinos to lose that sense of pride and love for our country, replacing it with bitterness and dissatisfaction. Having witnessed first-hand the quality of government and safety level of our country, these Filipinos, the hopes of our country, eventually end up migrating. And that leaves us with many non-educated Filipinos, bringing our country into the dark and seemingly bottomless pit we are currently under today.
With people poorer, naturally, products get more expensive, and the condition of living gets worse. Life for the Filipinos couldn’t probably get harder than this, especially for the Zamboangeños.
SOCIAL EFFECTS Society is like clay molded by the hands of the people; except this time, it was molded by the hands of circumstance. It appears that the people of Zamboanga would have to wave goodbye to the days of their happy and carefree lifestyle. This crisis has definitely had a great impact on the people on the social aspect.
!First and foremost, this crisis brings about the destruction
of communication and transportation services in the area. People would not be able to reach their destinations and they will have a hard time communicating for all the public services like busses, jeepneys, etc. all have to be put on hiatus due to the chaotic circumstances going on.
!It is not only these that are affected, but the basic needs
of people as well. For one to survive, food, water and shelter are very essential. In the situation of a war, there will be a shortage of food and water. Many of these supplies will be used up by those fighting in the war. Another reason would be that since the different forms of transportation are cut off, it will be difficult to get from the sources of these goods. In this crisis, there were a lot of house burned, around 10000. This surely caused many families to go homeless. They will have no choice but to leave their once called “homes” and evacuate to another place. With the rising number of people evacuating, it may even be possible that they will run out of evacuation centers to keep the people safe and completely provide them with their needs.
!Another factor that we must put to consideration is the
health of the people. In a war, there are often many casualties and a lot of hospitals are needed to house these wounded or dying soldiers. It is at these occasions that there will be a lack of health services. Take into the fact that when there is war, diseases may spread from one group of people to another. It will be hard for the health services to take care and tend to the medical needs of all these people.
CULTURAL EFFECTS One of the factors that the Zamboanga city crisis will have an effect on would be the cultural aspect of the people. When we talk about the culture of the country, we immediately put to notice the religion, beliefs and attitude of the people.
Zamboanga City Crisis is mainly between the Philippine government and the MNLF. Ever since, there has been a tension between both the Christians and the Muslims. It has been recorded countless of times already before that there has been war against the Christians and the Muslims and that they treat each other differently. With a crisis like this, it will just worsen the situation. Due to this, the stereotype that one Christian would have on a Muslim would be like: “They are so violent and we should stay away from them.” It is because of these misunderstanding and wars that the gap between the two sides will grow bigger. There has been an attempt several times to put aside their religious differences and live in harmony, but it will be impossible to achieve if situations like this continue to come up.
!! !! !! !! !! !! If we look at the attitude as well of the people, there
would be a difference. The people located in the affected area may be traumatized due to all the severe circumstances they are observing around them. It would be a tendency for them to feel in danger and they will always have that feeling that as long as they live in that area, they will never be safe and free from all the dangers of the world. The people won’t be able to have a peace of mind and often, the attitudes of a certain group of people would be affected by its environment. So if they are surrounded by a hostile environment like in this case, it would be a natural tendency for them to act the same way to others. They might even always be grumpy irritated and discrimination will be very common among the people.
Imagine. One event. A whole chain of effects. Now imagine what you can do. One action. A whole world of differences made. One choice. A whole lot of steps closer to rebuilding the nation. One answer to one call. A whole new nation-state. Imagine how a single choice can change this word. Imagine how a single citizen, a single Filipino, a single individual like you and me can help us mold a brighter Philippines. Imagine... Don’t stop. Your choices are the keys to tomorrow.
In the following pages are articles that will give you tips and examples on what we can do to rebuild our nation.
A CHOICE TODAY, A BRIGHTER TOMORROW! Operation Nation Building: an article by Sedrick Keh! THE NEED FOR A BETTER PHILIPPINES Poverty. Crimes. Corruption. Wars. Our nation state is going a downward spiral. Recently, an unfortunate event, the Zamboanga crisis has occurred. Our fellow brothers and sisters in Zamboanga are suffering, and they are struggling with recovery. And while we are sitting here enjoying the good life, one just cannot help but think: “Why am I just here doing nothing? How can we help these people? What can we, as 13 or 14 year old kids, do to change this nation for the better?”
!! !! !! THE NATION WE YEARN TO BUILD
But first, we must identify "What is the goal here? What does nation building even mean and what is the 'ideal nation' we're aiming for?" First of all, I believe that nation building is the process in which the people and government of a sovereign nation work together to 'build the nation' or to improve the country and pull it out from the depths of its pits. It is to create that rope that will bind everyone together and build a better country. And it requires the participation of everyone in the nation state, but unfortunately, the problem here in the Philippines is that many are not willing to do their part. That is why the Philippines until today is still at the bottom despite the struggles of our ancestors to bring us to the top. As for the 'ideal nation', I believe there is no ideal nation. Every nation in the past and in the present has had a weakness. Though we, the Philippines may have imperfections, we must still continue to stive for a better nation for the betterment of the lives of all Filipinos, especially the poor, and to give a better tomorrow for the future generations of Filipinos to come. Never lose hope :D
GOVERNMENT As the government and being one of the elements of a nation-state, what they do will be crucial to the lives of the people in Zamboanga and to the building of the nation state. As the ruling body, they are the ones who hold the most funds and have the greatest capability to help.
RELIEF AND RECOVERY HELP One way they can help is by sending relief goods to Zamboanga to help the people. They can also allot money to help with the reconstruction and recovery of damaged buildings so that the people in Zamboanga can return to their usual life. They can also provide funds for the businesses to recover so that people can begin buying things again.
FUTURE PROTECTION Furthermore, as ‘government’ and ‘people’ are two elements of the nation-state, these two elements must learn to work together and protect each other. As government, this group has the power to protect the Zamboangeños and the rest of the Philippines by preventing future attacks. One way they can do this is by strengthening the security by allotting more funds for training of military. They could also use these funds to purchase arms and military equipment to strengthen our forces. Moreover, it is instrumental that the government settle their heat with the MNLF. They could conduct peace talks and sign peace treaties to make sure that the MNLF don’t attack like this again.
PEOPLE The most precious resource of a nation isn’t gold or silver, but the people. Truly, without the people, the nation will be in ruins. These people, when working as one, have the capability to change the nation.
RELIEF AND DONATIONS What the people can do is to gather relief goods and donate to organizations to send them to Zamboanga. This will be of help especially to those in evacuation centers whole homes and families are destroyed.
PREVENTION OVER CURE: NATION BUILDING As far as cure goes, basically it’s just relief goods (like what I stated) and making petitions to the government reminding them to do the things they should be doing. In the line of prevention, the Filipinos can vote wisely in the next elections so we can have a less corrupt batch of public servants which could result in better allocation of the funds from taxes. Another thing is for them to change their attitude. Nationbuilding requires 4 elements: people, government, sovereignty, and territory. If one of these goes off, and is not in unity with the others, like if the people stop caring for the government or the sovereignty, then the nation state crumbles. That is exactly what’s happening now. The nation state we know as the Philippines is full of people who don’t put value to territory and sovereignty. They stop caring altogether about our country and view it as ‘trash’, having a lack of nationalism and patriotism, resulting in migration. Imagine if all those people just stayed here and developed amazing weapons or survival tech for evacuees, then maybe the Zamboanga crisis wouldn’t have been that bad. What the people must do is try their hardest to change their attitude and love their country more. They should kill off colonial mentality and patronize/ buy Filipino products instead of imported brands. They should be proud of their identity as Filipinos so that our country can develop more.
STUDENTS As students, we, too, belong to that group of ‘people’, an element of the nation state. Powerless as we seem, we are still an element of a nation stare, therefore able do things that can change our nation. First of all, we can do whatever is stated above (what I wrote for the people). I can also donate to organizations so that I could help the victims of the crisis.
PRIDE FOR IDENTITY AND ANTI- DISCRIMINATION For building the nation, I can be proud of my identity as a Filipino and will not hesitate to patronize/buy Filipino products. I will also foster the attitude of equality instead of discriminating others. I will not discriminate our Muslim brothers and sisters and treat them equally as beautiful people created special by God.
RAISING AWARENESS I can also raise awareness of nationalism and nation building by creating posts or trends in social media like Facebook or Twitter that can spread my ideas to my friends and ultimately, to the world. This will help promote the ideas especially since social media is used a lot nowadays in the Philippines.
THE HOPES OF THE FUTURE I will take school seriously and study hard. Even an individual like me is a crucial element of the people part the nation state. By studying hard, I can have the chance to provide a brighter future for our nation. Lastly, I will pray for the victims of this crisis and pray for the rebuilding of our nation. Prayer is a really really powerful tool...
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It is our turn to act. It is our turn to rebuild this nation. Pick up your tools, people. Operation Nation Building begins today! It is our turn to make a better Philippines. Mabuhay! God bless!!
A Nation That can be Unified Only Through Cooperation, Unity and Honesty by Martin Bonifacio 9B#02
1. If the Filipinos want to rebuild their very own nation, they should stop thinking that every crisis that happens in a part of the Philippines is not their problem. Nowadays, Filipinos think most crises happening here are not their business. They do not care about the effects and whatsoever. Filipinos should begin donating food and supplies to the cities and provinces in state of calamity. They should also understand and notify how the government is working and its status in the country’s progress in modernization and in creating peace. 2. The Filipino government should stop using the money they get from taxes for their own purposes. If they continue doing this, they display that paying taxes are no longer beneficial for the country’s progress. It also displays that the government does not ABSOLUTELY CARE for the needs of the Filipino people. They should also stop just displaying crises and not do anything about it. The government should also help and assist the victims of the crisis rather than look and watch them die and suffer. 3. If I was to rebuild the Philippine nation, I should take pride in what work I do. I should also take responsibility of the things I do such as creating programs to help the needy and stating what the government should change in their system. Since the Filipinos do not treasure values of respect, responsibility and the like, I should teach them and impose that these type of values are important to us and we should start exhibiting these to our own people, the government and in international affairs.
Quade Ong! 9-B 25!
Government ! They first should focus on getting the civilians to safety first then since the rebels will have no hostages and no leverage they will be more willing to negotiate. They should also focus on helping the civilians living conditions because the evacuation centers are very bad and unsanitary so they should fix that the government should have closer cooperation with mindanao so they can properly monitor the threats there!
Students! While we cannot go to Zamboanga and help the people there we can still help improve conditions of the people there by giving donations and prayers and maybe we can give some of our time and help in relief operations and maybe we can be more accepting towards other people because this happened partly because of discrimination so if we were more tolerant this could have been avoided
SOLUTIONS IN OUR OWN by: Jeffrey Limpo 9B#16
The Zamboanga Crisis has many solutions like peace agreements with Nour Misuari and the government. This can strengthen our relationship with them so that we wont have problems with them and in the long run we can build a better nation. But us citizens of the philippines can do something to. We can make a compilation of our signatures and show the government that us Philippine citizens want peace in our land. This will show the government the wanting of peace of the people of the philippines. As students we can make a viral video showing peace between the government and the MNLF. In our century social media is used a lot so videos like this can be watched my anyone at anytime they want to so making videos can help citizens think of what they can do in their little ways. As people of the philippines we can join them in ramadan and we can also feast with them because we are one nation. In building a better nation we have to do our best to know people from different nations. When we feast and eat with them we can learn from them. In the future we can teach our children to respect other people with different religion because they are people like us. This can help them to pave a better road for our relationship with other religions. Even though we believe in different religions we can still cooperate because we are people, peace is what holds us together in our everlasting nation, everyday new hope for peace is made. Lastly we can spread joy in our own little ways. Us Filipinos united can do unbelieveable things....
L O V E n P E A C E
What the Government Can Do
country faces a crisis, important steps should be taken by the leaders of the government in order to solve the problem. The government, through its power, should be able to bring about unity among its people. It is only when a country is politically stable that nation building becomes possible. Peace, not War; Treaty, not Truce
The government can settle the Zamboanga standoff, or any other crisis, through peaceful and diplomatic negotiations. The use of violence will not only cause the lives of people, but will also not solve the problem.
Sustainable peace agreement based on justice is what it takes to solve the problem permanently. A truce is a ceasefire; its effect is only temporary. To put an end to all hostilities, the parties should come up with a fair agreement. Security to the Max
The government has to tighten security measures and deploy more military forces to secure areas where uprisings usually occur, whether in times of peace or war. Intelligence agents have to be assigned to monitor the activities of the rebels, so that any form of uprising can be thwarted. Count Everyone In
The government should make sure all factions of the society are represented in major agreements and never sideline anyone to prevent discontentment that leads to rebellious acts. One for All, All for One
In Singapore, they have Muslims, Christians and Hindus who live peacefully sideby-side. The government created religious harmony law that dictates how different faiths should interact and how they should separate themselves from politics. The Philippine government can come up with laws like this to promote unity among the different religions.
The Filipinos have just been through a devastating crisis. Yet, it isn’t over. In its fight for peace, the state, through its sovereignty, and with the cooperation of the government leaders and the citizens, are on their way to rebuild our beloved nation.
The citizens play a
by: Kyle Lee Uy 9B#12
major role in nation What the building. The Citizens Can government and the Do citizens should work together towards building a social bond and political stability.
now, students can do their share in promoting nation building to prepare the country for a better future.
There is Strength in Numbers
Be Active “Netizens”
Let your voice be heard by banding
What the Students Can Do
As early as
Avid users of the Internet like students
together for a just cause through peaceful rallies. This is reminiscent of the EDSA People Power Revolution, which proved that a good cause could be achieved even without bloodshed. In the Zamboanga crisis, around 120,000 people were affected aside from the lives lost. If the people can join hands in sending their message across those individuals and groups concerned, any such incidents can be prevented and the nation can live in peace and harmony.
can make a change and help rebuild the nation by making a stand against violence. They can make good use of the different social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter by posting their thoughts about the different issues the country is facing and the word can spread and influence many people. In this day of computers and gadgets, this is the easiest and fastest way to promote awareness among the people.
Be an “Eye Spy”
The Past is Passed
Every citizen should play spies by being vigilant of any suspicious activities that the MNLF and other rebels are cooking up. Reporting these to the authorities can spoil whatever plans they have. Therefore, saving lives of many people while supporting the government in its fight for peace and justice. Be Donors of Change
Donate and support the different peace organizations like Peace Advocates Zamboanga Foundation, Inc. and Center for Peace Education. With more funds, the organizers can use them to create awareness among the people through programs that aim to develop good relationships between the people, especially the Muslims in Mindanao as well as lead the people towards a culture of peace.
The students are the future leaders of the country. Even at a young age, they need to be well-educated and well-informed about the negative effects and consequences brought about by violence so that when the time comes that they will lead the country, they are better prepared and they will resort to more peaceful means in achieving their goals. Learn from the mistakes that are being committed today and channel all learning to promoting unity among all people. Friends, not Foes
As students, we can promote peace, unity and equality. We must learn to develop brotherhood and camaraderie with other people, setting aside all differences. When we grow up, if this attitude remains in us, we can lessen the animosity that develops due to conflicts about different religions and culture.