Aquino orders safety of civilian population in Zamboanga-A A +A
Monday, September 9, 2013
PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III ordered Monday the concerned government agencies to ensure the safety of the civilian population amid the clash between the government troops and the alleged members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in Zamboanga City.
In his regular press briefing, Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said that Aquino met with the Security Cluster in Malacanang and he was briefed by the military and the police leadership of the incident.
"The President directed that certain steps be taken to ensure that the safety of the civilian population in general be protected," he said.
He also said that Aquino has been in direct contact with the City Government of Zamboanga.
Aquino directed Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff General Emmanuel Bautista to go to Zamboanga City to further ensure that his directives were carried out and would update him accordingly.
"In the interest of public safety, we appeal to all Zamboanga City residents to stay alert for official announcements and updates, and to cooperate with the authorities," he said.
Contrary to the claim of Misuari's lawyer and spokesperson Emmanuel Fontanilla, Lacierda said that the Aquino administration did not terminate the 1996 peace agreement with the MNLF.
"In fact, there is an ongoing tripartite review process of the implementation of the GPH (Government of the Philippines)-MNLF peace pact through the facilitation of the Organization of Islamic Conference," he said, adding that there would be a meeting next week.
Asked if the government will press any charges against Misuari because of what has been happening in Zamboanga City, Lacierda said the government's priority was to ensure the safety of the people there.
"We will defer comment on any matters concerning Mr. Misuari," he said.
The spokesman said that the government has already communicated with the Indonesia Embassy of what has been happening in Zamboanga City.
Indonesia has been facilitating the tripartite meetings between the government and the MNLF.
Fontanilla reportedly said that the MNLF has been calling for independence because the government has terminated the 1996 final peace pact with them. (SDR/Sunnex)