Roxas, Gazmin to fly to Zambo-A A +A
Monday, September 9, 2013
MANILA (Updated) -- Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin will fly to Zamboanga City this afternoon to get a firsthand account of the attack of alleged Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) members.
Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. disclosed this during the budget briefing of the Office of the President for the House committee on appropriations.
"Two secretaries will be going there, Secretary Mar Roxas and Secretary Voltaire Gazmin...We don't want to rely on text messages," Ochoa told the committee.
Hundreds of civilians from four barangays have been displaced due to the continued fighting between the MNLF and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Ochoa said the MNLF led by chairman Nur Misuari is "mistaken" by declaring independence for Palawan, Zamboanga Peninsula, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, and North Borneo or Sabah, which is controlled by Malaysia, as the government is in negotiation with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
"What we want is a comprehensive peace agreement. They are mistaken if they feel left out," Ochoa said.
Bayan Muna party-list Representative Carlos Zarate, meanwhile, called for sobriety in Zamboanga City to ensure the safety of the civilians.
Zarate noted, however, that the Philippine government cannot ignore Misuari and the MNLF while negotiating with the MILF for the new autonomous government entity for the Bangsamoro people.
“The peace policy of President Aquino should not be divisive and exclusive. It should not leave out a legitimate group just to appease another group. This is no way of talking peace in Mindanao,” said Zarate.
At least six people were killed while 24 were wounded during the encounter, Mayor Isabelle Climaco said. (Kathrina Alvarez/JK/Sunnex)