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PH Pres. Aquino Warns Zambo Hostage Takers

The Philippine government issued an ultimatum to the alleged members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) holding many hostages in Zamboanga City saying the government is ready to use the full force of the law to end the ongoing standoff and armed men must cooperate immediately.In a statement on Thursday, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said that the government is prepared to exercise its resolve by using force.

“While the government is exhausting all avenues for a peaceful resolution to the situation, let it be clear to those defying us that they should not entertain the illusion that the state will hesitate to use its forces to protect our people,” Lacierda said.

“Instead, it is time for you to cooperate to resolve this situation peacefully at the soonest possible time,” he added.

The government, through its security forces, is always ready to repel any similar attacks as new violence erupted in Basilan, which was contained by the military.

Lacierda said around 150 members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), and the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) took advantage of the ongoing crisis in Zamboanga City and tried to attack Lamitan City but was halted by the military.

After a two hour firefight, the BIFF and the ASG withdrew and the armed forces is currently conducting hot pursuit operations.

Lacierda also assured the people of Zamboanga City that the government is working to protect their welfare and that basic needs are being sent to the conflict area. The Palace has also asked the Bangko Sentral ng Pilpinas (BSP) to ensure sufficient supplies of currency.

The Palace official also asked the cooperation of the people of Zamboanga City by not inflaming the present situation and by refraining from misinforming other people through misleading text messages. Instead, Lacierda asked them to listen to legitimate updates from the government.

The local government of Zamboanga City has performed well in handling the situation, Lacierda said, as he appealed to local officials not to politicize the ongoing crisis.

These groups have been opposing the peace process in Mindanao and wanting to create chaos to derail the signing of the final peace pact. – Malacanang Press Office


Prior to the hostage crisis in Zamboanga City, some groups launched bombing attacks in Cagayan de Oro City and other areas in Mindanao. PND (as)