Zambo enforces forced evac-A A +A
Friday, September 13, 2013
ZAMBOANGA CITY -- Residents of at least six villages affected by the existing standoff with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) were ordered to leave their homes as skirmishes continue.
Zamboanga City Crisis Management Committee spokesperson Sheila Covarubias advised all residents of Barangays Rio Hondo, Sta. Catalina, Sta. Barbara, Mampang, Talon-Talon, and Bungan on Friday to go on forced evacuation.
Sheila Covarrubias said the measure was meant to ensure that no innocent civilians are caught in the crossfire. Covarrubias is the spokesperson of the Crisis Management Committee (CMC) seeking a peaceful resolution to the conflict.
Covarrubias said the City Council "unanimously approved" Thursday night a ordinance "mandating the forced evacuation."
Those due for evacuation are all the remaining residents of the entire barangays of Sta. Barbara, Sta. Catalina, Mampang, Talon-talon, Rio Hondo, and parts of Tugbungan, said Covarrubias.
"All residents from these areas advised to go on forced evacuation. Their barangay officials have been advised to look for ways and means how to effect the evacuation process," said Covarrubias.
She said some barangays are already providing a truck to ferry the remaining residents to safer grounds.
Covarrubias could not immediately say how many residents they are eyeing to evacuate. Nevertheless, she said the number could reach thousands since this covers six barangays.
She said some residents of these barangays have actually evacuated since the start of the conflict but added that many remained in their residents.
"The residents have been asked ever since to seek safer grounds because we can't say what will happen in the process, to avoid being caught in the crossfire. But last night, there was already an ordinance mandating this force evacuation," she said.
The CMC, chaired by Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar, is in the process of negotiating with MNLF founder Nur Misuari and MNLF commander Habier Malik. Misuari is in Sulu, while Malik is leading his men in the conflict in Zamboana City.
Covarrubias said, "I cannot tell if it's (the situation) deteriorating. While this forced evacuation is happening, we have negotiations ongoing."
Covarrubias also announced that some banks in the unaffected barangas are due to open today, a day after Climaco requested the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas "to find a creative way on how to open banks in the unaffected areas." (VR/Sunnex)