SANA HINDI NA MAULIT PA (I hope it will not happen again)

We (the Ateneo Debate Union (AdZU)) were stranded in Davao City for almost three weeks due to the Zamboanga Crisis and by each day that passed there, we grew afraid for the conflict in Zambonga and prayed unceasingly that it will be over soon so we could be able to go home already. While we were there, we are very thankful that there are some people who graciously helped with our daily food and other needs – the Tower Inn, Ateneo de Davao University, and University of Mindanao. They allowed us to stay in the hotel we had during the 28th Mindanao Parliamentary Debate Championship, shouldering all the expenses themselves. They even joking dubbed us “First-class refugees”.

But we know how much worse the people in Zamboanga were faring. Over 100,000 families cramped themselves in the evacuation centers, on very dire conditions. It broke our young hearts to see that a very beautiful place that is meant to be shared by all people is being ravaged by a group who claims it for themselves only. In this crisis, I can’t help but think about my beloved hometown, Basilan where everyday is on Red Alert status. And now this in Zamboanga? Why can’t be peace in the places I call my home? Why must they go and destroy everything that I have cherished and loved again and again? I DON’T WANT THIS ANYMORE! Oh God, please help us. Eternal Father, please protect all your children… Change the hearts of our enemies so that they will stop inflicting harm upon us and cease the unnecessary bloodshed in our own land.Image

– this is one of the captured photos of the aftermath of the three-week conflict between the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) rebels and the Government soldiers, military.

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