ZAMBOANGA City, Sept. 9, 2013—In the midst of uncertain yet violent circumstances of the Zamboanga siege where Moro National Liberation Front (MNFL) members are believed to have attacked coastal barangays, Ateneo de Zamboanga University (AdZU) is organizing relief operations to address the needs of an estimated 1, 447 evacuees. 

Evacuees’ needs 

In a plea made through social media, AdZU officer in charge Fr.Wilfredo M. Samson, SJ said, the university will be accepting food donations at the Brebeuf Gym starting tomorrow, September 10, 7:30 a.m., while cash donations may be given at the university’s Social Awareness and Community Service Involvement Office (SACSI). 

For those who are not from the city, deposits may be made to the Ateneo de Zamboanga University – Bank of the Philippine Islands account: 2111-000 -142. 

He also called on volunteers to be available for preparing relief packages, cooking and deployment to the evacuation areas within the city for relief goods distribution. 

“Let’s support this cause, let’s help those innocent evacuees who are victims of this senseless violence… Let’s help our city,” Fr. Samson added. 

According to a Philippine Star report, several hundreds of refugees have fled to the Tetuan Central School, Tetuan Parish Church and the Talon-talon National High School. 

Stranded students 

The high tension situation has put all flights on hold, directly affecting some 22 AdZU highschool and college students, who are unable to come home from Davao, while 13 Western Mindanao State University (WMSU) students are left stranded in Zamboanga until the security issue is resolved. 

Fr. Samson personally thanked Ateneo de Davao president Fr. Joel Tabora for taking care of the AdZU students’ board and lodging until they are able to fly back to Zamboanga. 

Fr. Samson, who had been micro-blogging updates on the Zamboanga crises all afternoon through his Facebook account said in a post, he personally heard the sound of gunshots, explosions and helicopters from his room. 

As of 6:00 p.m. today, he noted, “For the first time in my years of stay here in Zamboanga … I guess this is the first night that the city will sleep in fear and anxiety.” 

He encouraged everyone to continue asking for the intercession of Our Lady of Fort Pilar (Nuestra Señora La Virgen del Pilar de Zamboanga), the patroness of Zamboanga and a beloved intercessor for both Catholics and Muslims, in behalf of “all the hostages, victims, evacuees and the military who are trying their best to restore peace and order in the city.” [Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz]