Fighting in Zamboanga

For years relations between the Muslims, organized in the More National Liberation Front. and the Philippine army have been strained in the very South of the Philippines.

In September violent exchange of fire started between the two groups, resulting in casualties on both sides. We know 62 people were killed, many were injured and over 70,000 people fled the area.

zamboanga4The Akay Kalinga shelter for street children is situated in the centre of Zamboanga. The present shelter, newly built in 2007, was hit by stray bullets in seven places, compelling the children to leave the building and find shelter elsewhere for the time being. Kapatiran has supported the children of the Akay Kalinga Centre financially for years in their education and training.

This is a very successful project. About 60 children are supported in their education from primary school to college. Sadly the schools are closed now on account of the violence. A worldwide appeal for a cease fire was made to the parties, but this has not happened yet. This is the tense atmosphere the citizens of Zamboanga live in now.

At the moment Zamboanga is licking its wounds and tries to pick up everyday life, very cautiously though, for there are still thousands of evacuees and many houses were destroyed by the bombardments.

Wim Vermeiden
Kapatiran Foundation chairperson