After the Black Ribbon Campaign, Black Wash day, Mass, and the 100 Faces for the Restoration of Peace, Ateneans gathered to offer a prayer and lit candles for the victims of senseless killings in Zamboanga and to call an end to it last July 8 in front of the Roxas Gate.
Organizations such as SAMAPULA, Amnesty International AdDU Chapter and the SAMAHAN Central Board joined in the event.
In his opening remarks, director of Ateneo Public Interest and Legal Advocacy Center (APILA) Atty. Romeo Cabarde, Jr. expressed his condemnation of these acts for “grossly violating the sanctity of human life and liberty.”
“Nothing can be more inhumane than unjustly taking away the life and liberty of another. Therefore, it should not be tolerated for it deserves universal condemnation. We should protect our people from these threats. We should uphold the protection of human rights,” Cabarde said.
SAMPULA President Cesar Clarion extended his condolences to the bereaved victims and strongly condemned the senseless killings happening in Zamboanga City.
“We are all encouraged to show our support by offering our prayers or by simply lighting a candle. It will not only show sympathy to the victims and their families but it will also send a message to the bereaved families that they are not alone,” Clarion said.
SAMAHAN President Robin Tongcua thanked everyone who attended and showed their support for the Prayer for Zamboanga. Tongcua also shared his conversation with the student government president of Ateneo de Zamboanga regarding the latest situation there.
“He was saying na if nasa loob ka ng AdZU, hindi mo ma-fefeel ang danger. But if you go outside the campus, it’s like at any moment you could die. Double red alert sila ngayon sa Zamboanga.”
Tongcua said that the SAMAHAN and the students of Ateneo de Davao University request for a speedy action by the local government of Zamboanga with regards to merciless killings.
“This simple gesture of lighting a candle will help remind people that there are still young hearts like us who believe that human rights must never be violated,” Tongcua added.
Amnesty International AdDU Chapter head Michaela Pidor then followed and called for the immediate and unconditional release of Linda and Nadjoua Bansil. The two have been abducted by Lucky 9 kidnap-for-ransom group, a sub-group of the Abu Sayaff.
Pidor said that Linda and Nadjoua are long-term active members of Amnesty International Philippines who have volunteered as writers for the campAIgn newsletter and other publications.
“Amnesty International Philippines condemns all forms of human rights abuses and violations against human rights defenders. We appeal to the local government of Sulu to take necessary measures in order to ensure the safety of the Bansil sisters in the hands of their captors towards their eventual release,” Pidor added.
The event ended by the lighting of the candles led by Cabarde, Clarion, Tongcua and Pidor.