ZAMBOANGA CITY, June 13 (PIA) – The City Government continues the legal battle to attain justice for the 2013 siege, Mayor Beng Climaco declared.
During the Independence Day celebration at City Hall Tuesday (June 12), the mayor spoke out her sentiments, particularly on the release of 96 members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) involved in the siege, who were earlier ordered released from Taguig Jail by the Regional Trial Court 158 in Pasay City.
The accused MNLF members availed of a plea bargaining agreement, thus reducing their prison sentence. The original charges were crimes against international humanitarian law, genocide and other crimes against humanity. The accused agreed to plead for the lesser crime of sedition, and the court ruled that they had already served their prison sentence.
“I feel like I am alone in the fight. No other local officials supported, save for Cong. Mannix Dalipe,” she said. “But we will continue our aspirations for justice.”
The mayor admitted that the city 5 years after the infamous siege is still reeling from its effects. Thousands of families were displaced due to the fighting, many lives were lost and millions of pesos were lost in infrastructure damages and economic after-effects.
“We knew then right after the siege, we had to shift priorities towards security, health and education,” Mayor Climaco said. Since then, the City Government has been recognized as a resilient city. “We bounced back, and we now have a better and stronger city.”
Yet, she shared that the journey towards recovery has not been easy, referring to the recovery of the internally-displaced persons (IDPs). Some IDPs, as the mayor herself personally experienced during an incident when a bridge collapsed in the resettlement areas, have substandard housing units.
Nevertheless, Mayor Climaco said the local government through the City Legal Office will continue to seek for justice.
Meanwhile, she called on residents to “uphold the sovereignty of the Philippines under one flag, one nation and one republic,” but also re-emphasized that the city must never be included in the Bangsamoro Territory “now or ever.” (ALT/DIS/PIA9-Zamboanga City)
Source: PIA Feed