“Kapihan sa Silsilah: Help Build Back Better Zamboanga”
The Kapihan sa Silsilah is a regular activity promoted by Silsilah to focus on relevant issues and to share ideas and suggestions for the common good in our multicultural and multi-religious society. The Kapihan sa Silsilah with the theme: “HELP BUILD BACK BETTER ZAMBOANGA: EVALUATION 2014; RECOMMENDATION 2015” was held in the morning of December 4, 2014 (Thursday) at Sunflower Food center, a central restaurant in the city.
The resource speakers shared their points of view on the theme, to evaluate Zamboanga’s situation after the siege and give recommendations for the New Year 2015. The participants were more than one hundred (100) from the different sectors of society: the academe, government agencies and selected communities of the city that were affected by the siege of 2013. The discussion was active and fruitful.
On the part of the government, the speaker was Dr. Elmeir Jade E. Apolinario, the assistant city administrator of the government of Zamboanga and in-charge of the rehabilitation program in the city. He shared the steps being currently done by the government, projecting the perception that things are moving according to schedule, but encountering some problems along the way. The second speaker was from the media, Mr. Ronald “Ronnie” Lledo, the News and Productions Director of GBPI TV11 of Zamboanga. The third speaker was the president of the Silsilah Dialogue Movement, Ms. Aminda E. Saño, EDC. Her presentation was more on the experiences of Silsilah which is helping people in many ways, inspiring others to do the same. During the open forum, it appeared clearly that not all were informed of the situation and the process of relocation is moving slowly.
It was not the first time that a gathering like this has been organized, but this Kapihan was an occasion for Silsilah to inspire each other to work together, especially to find ways how Muslims and Christians can collaborate together. This aspect is one of the sensitive issues in the effort to rebuild better Zamboanga. Little by little the city has been rebuilt, although there are still thousands of evacuees in temporary sites to return to their permanent places after the siege. But one question remains: “How do we rebuild a better Zamboanga in terms of trust and confidence, to overcome feelings of fear and misunderstanding between Muslims and Christians?” These feelings today become more sensitive with the ongoing sharing of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), which finds people from Zamboanga in a position to respect the peace process, but not willing to be part of the Bangsamoro territory. On the other hand, some, especially among the Muslims, believe that it could be an advantage to be part of the Bangsamoro.
The siege in Zamboanga on September, 2013 remains a painful experience of a war that still leaves wounds and we are committed to find all possible ways to overcome ill feelings with the desire to work together for the common good. Zamboanga is a unique city of multi-cultural and multi-religious reality that hopefully will find proper ways to build intercultural and interreligious atmosphere. For this reason Silsilah organized this Kapihan and continue our commitment in collaboration with all those who move together with sincere hearts for the common good.