ZAMBOANGA CITY– For many locals who fled their homes during the height of the clashes between government troops and the Misuari faction of the Moro National Liberation Front in September 2013, this has been their residence for the past 12 months.
The open-air Joaquin F. Enriquez Sports Complex has sprung its own community in that time, with the evacuees there building their daily routines on the makeshift cabins and amenities there.
They are now a fraction of the original 110,000 occupants of the stadium, with new arrivals from tents at the bayside. Those who already left returned to the affected barangays, others to temporary shelters in four areas in the city.
City Hall says the sports complex will be vacated by December, the evacuees to transfer to these so-called “transitional sites”.
For now, they continue to pray, play and survive in a village that’s not theirs. They fear not the specter of another armed siege, but of carrying on life with no permanent means to sustain it.
Read more about the evacuees here.
Many thanks to Chito Concepcion, whose camera was used to take these shots.