Curfew up in Zamboanga City-A A +A
By Bong Garcia
Monday, September 9, 2013
ZAMBOANGA CITY -- Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar has declared a curfew effective Monday evening until such time the situation normalizes in this city.
Salazar's declaration came after a closed-door meeting with Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, and other top government officials where they discussed issues and problems on the prevailing situation here.
President Benigno Aquino III sent Roxas and Gazmin to help oversee the situation in this city brought about by the infiltration of rebels loyal to Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding-chair Nur Misuari.
Six people, including a policeman and a Navy soldier, were killed while 24 others were wounded in firefights in the villages of Rio Hondo and Sta. Catalina, 0.92 and 1.76 kilometers east of this city, respectively.
Six of those wounded are members of the Philippine Navy based here.
The firefight broke out early Monday when hundreds of MNLF rebels infiltrated this city through the shores of Rio Hondo and other nearby villages.
A total of 220 people have been held hostage in the village of Sta. Catalina.
Salazar said the curfew starts from 8 p.m. until 5 a.m. the following day. Members of the media were given curfew passes.
Roxas explained that the curfew is aimed to avoid misencounter and to ensure the safety of the civilians.
Roxas said that the situation is under control citing the rebel forces were contained in the villages of Sta. Barbara and Sta. Catalina.
Salazar said the City Government is mobilizing all resources to address the situation.
"We are in close coordination with our police and military authorities and everything is being done to solve the crisis the soonest possible time with minimal damage to lives and properties," Salazar said in a press briefing at City Hall.
Moreover, the United States (US) government is advising Americans not to travel in the Zamboanga region.
In an Emergency Message to US Citizens, the US Embassy in Manila said they are against any travel to the Zamboanga region especially with the uncertainties surrounding the attack.
"The Embassy urges all US citizens to postpone any travel to the Zamboanga peninsula area at this time," said the Embassy.
Meanwhile, the local government through the City Health Office has established a satellite emergency hospital at the Western Mindanao State University (WMSU) gymnasium.
City Health Officer Dr. Rodelin Agbulos said the satellite emergency hospital was established since health officials were forced to close the government-run Zamboanga City Medical Center (ZCMC) as one of the skirmishes sites is near the frontage of the hospital.
The health authorities have transferred the patients from the ZCMC to the emergency hospital passing through the back gate of the hospital compound. (With HDT/Sunnex)