Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sentiments of the Civilians

Mrs. Hanina Abdusali, a six-month evacuee to the area, is still shocked and traumatized with the incident that gives her sleepless night. She said that she would immediately run for cover whenever she heard a strange sound. Ms. Abdusali was a native place of Batu, Itum, Barangay Alu, Parang, Sulu. She went to Tandu Pukut, Siyunugan because she believed in the relative safety of the place.

“We fled from danger to a more dangerous place,” she said in Tausug.

One of the wounded, Mrs. Biya Bahari, when asked why she brought her appliances to the Hja. Mariam’s warehouse said that she was only taking precaution against looting as it was their experience that whenever a military offensive was done to their place, the military had a penchant of looting their belongings.

Children’s right to education is also jeopardized. A Bato-bato Elementary School annex, which served grade 1 and 2 pupils in the community, had been closed since the incident happened. The pupils are now scattered to nearby elementary schools which are miles away from the place. Some children have to walk four (4) miles to Bato-bato just to attend to their classes. Other children choose to stop from going to school because of the incident.

Fishermen who rely on their fishing boats for sustenance of their families are also angry and call for redress of their grievances and indemnification. Some thirty (30) boats were damaged.

The owner of a bombarded small cassava farm asked, “What will happen to me, to my family after the incident? I rely solely on this farm for my family sustenance. Is there still hope that this land which I till for years produced good harvest after it has been destroyed by this chemicals from cannons?”

Mr. Kasim Hasim and other civilians asked for the help of the Sulu Governor Sakur Tan and the Vice Governor Lady Ann Sahidulla.

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