Government and military branches of the Philippines are suffering from bombardments of "pork barrel" corruption issue and internal warfare in the province of Zamboanga, respectively, as protestors and rebel forces acted for immediate change and cure to the never-ending internal strife.
Zamboanga's Rebel Forces
Military forces pushed offensively against the Moro National Liberation Front or MNLF after ignoring diplomatic solution from the government for ceasefire, release of hostages and peace negotiation.
Around 100 guerrillas in the province have been captured or killed by the national security forces who were keeping innocent people in their captivity. Military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Ramon Zagala calibrated their firepower to avoid injuring civilians while maintaining security on the city against the rebel forces.
"We're gaining ground. We're pushing forward," Zagala said, quoted by DW.de.
Security forces killed around 51 members of the rebel forces and managed to capture at least 42 others who attempted to escape along the coast wearing civilian clothing after swapping their camouflage uniforms. Mar Roxas, secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government, said that captured gunmen will all face criminal charges.
The warfare in the city of Zamboanga remains ongoing and the military forces are now backed up with helicopters, gunboats, army troops and police to surround the rebel territories and rescue all hostages. However, the security forces are having difficulty with rebels who are using houses as bases and putting innocent people in the line of fire like "human shields."
"Fighting is continuing as we speak. They continue to resist and conduct offensive actions against us," Zagala explained.
Almost 1 million people are affected due to the paralysis of the port city due to the government's action to halt flight and sea ferry services in the region. Secretary Mar Roxas remains uncertain when the military forces will be able to restore peace in Zamboanga City.
Pork Barrel Controversy
The pork barrel controversy awakens Filipino citizens regarding the widespread corruption of the government on using the public's money for a luxurious and wealthy lifestyle. Christian churches joined the fight against corruption and urged followers to keep the pace going via prayer rally as a call for justice.
"The prayer rally is not exclusive to born-again Christians alone," said by Pastor Ed de Guzman of the Intercessors of the Philippines, quoted by Manila Standard Today.
The 40-day prayer event with fasting activities has been dubbed as the "Jericho March." It began on September 15, 2013 to seek God's forgiveness for the sin of corruption. Another group, Jesus is Lord Movement being led by Eddie Villanueva, has the same prayer. The Christian group will be present on October 25, 2013, its 35th anniversary, at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila for the prayer rally.
More Christian groups are willing to join the protest rally which will be held at the Rizal Park in September 21, 20013 as preparation for the October 25 rally.
However, the centre of Philippine power, Malacañang, seemed unmoved by the growing contest to remove the President's own pork barrel funds.
"Let's draw the distinction between the President's discretionary funds and those of legislators. President Aquino is not a legislator. He is the Chief Executive and he is tasked to implement programs for our countrymen," explained by deputy presidential spokesperson, Abigail Valte.
She also said that the public has the right to show grievance, petition and positive engagement regarding the issue. But the people should resort to ways that will make criticism of government actions productive.
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