Ateneo students hold vigil for Zamboanga violence

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Some 300 people clad in black were at the prayer vigil for the Zamboanga violence last July 4. [Photo Credit: Julian Occeña]

QUEZON City, July 8, 2013—Breaking the wall of silence surrounding 250 violent deaths in Zamboanga, Ateneo de Manila students held a prayer vigil last July 4 to call for an end to the senseless killings, which have involved at least one Atenean.

Some 300 people, mostly students, heeded the call of Buklod Atenista, an alliance of the five Ateneo student governments, to gather in prayer from 4.30 to 5 p.m. at the Science Education Complex Field for the intention of peace and justice in Zamboanga last Thursday.

“The goal of the student government this year is to be able to bridge the gap between the outside world and the campus. The student government [is] deeply troubled by the events in Zamboanga and our fellow Ateneans are disturbed by the inaction of the local authorities to put a stop to these senseless acts of violence,” Sanggunian ng mga Mag-Aaral ng Ateneo de Manila University president Daniel Antonio Remo said in an interview.

He said, the group hoped the vigil will draw the Aquino administration’s and the local authorities’ attention to the worsening peace and order situation in Zamboanga.

Remo cited the fatal shooting of Justin Raphael Wee, an Ateneo de Zamboanga University alumnus, and the kidnapping of Linda and Nadjoua Bansil, also of the same university, as reasons behind Ateneo’s intense involvement.

In a message shortly after the short prayer gathering, Remo expressed his gratitude to those present for the vigil, “Thank you, Ateneo de Manila, for coming out today to express our solidarity with our fellow Filipinos in Zamboanga City. Ateneans will not stand idly by as violence continues to engulf our brothers and sisters in Zamboanga City. Restore peace and order in Zamboanga City now!” [Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz]

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