Shattered homes, shattered dreams

Before the standoff between government forces and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) under founding chair Nur Misuari began on September 9, the adjacent blocks of Lustre Street and Martha Drive were a vibrant trading and residential center of Barangay Santa Barbara in Zamboanga City.

Heavy fighting between government forces and rebels reduced both streets to a rubble, and with it a historic enclave that was once built following a Spanish colonial occupation in the 17th century.

In recent decades, however, the whole of Santa Barbara had become a shared and prosperous community for Christians and Muslims, a supposed beacon of religious and cultural understanding shattered in the aftermath of war. Text and Photos by Jowel F. Canuday