ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – Students here expressed alarm over the recent shooting incident in Barangay Buena Vista on Tuesday, February 14, when unidentified men strafed a Pagadian City-bound bus, leaving 8 passengers wounded.
At around 11:55 pm on Tuesday, unidentified gunmen fired shots at a Rural Transit Mindanao bus with 35 passengers on board. Authorities reported that the bus was shot simultaneously on both sides by still unidentified suspects who used a rifle, as evidenced by M16 shells.
A bus came to fetch distressed but unharmed passengers who proceeded safely to their destinations, while the 8 wounded passengers were rushed to the Curuan Hospital.
The bus route is used by over 5,000 students from nearby Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga Sibugay, and Zamboanga del Sur provinces studying in the city to go home weekly.
“Dili nalang sa ko mouli kay murag delikado ang dalan," Mark John Sanchez, a student of Western Mindanao State University said, adding that his parents are worried about the safety of the route. He decided not to go home to Titay, Zamboanga Sibugay for the time being. (I think I’m not going home yet because the road is in imminent danger.)
Another student who wished to remain anonymous also raised her concern that if these gun-related incidents continue, her parents might not be able to attend her graduation in March because of fear.
She also cited the shooting incident in Barangay Cainglet in Kabasalan town, Zamboanga Sibugay on Friday, February 10.
According to the Facebook page of Zamboanga City Mayor Beng Climaco-Salazar, OIC-Mayor engineer Rodrigo Sicat held a security meeting on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the current situation of the victims.
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Task Force Zamboanga is currently looking for possible angles and is conducting follow-up operations in the area against the perpetrators of the strafing incident.
"Climaco has ordered no let-up in the pursuit operations against the malefactors," the Facebook post said.
According to the city's Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office and City Health Office, 5 of the 8 wounded commuters who were transfered to Zamboanga City Medical Center have already been discharged while the remaining 3 will go through additional medical observations. One of the victims will undergo a foot surgery.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development Region IX provided P5,000 cash assistance to each of the wounded passengers while Rural Transit Mindanao promised to shoulder the expenses for the patients. – Rappler.com
Jieven Santisteban is a Rappler Mover and Campus Journalist. He is also a writer for JourKnows.