ZAMBOANGA CITY (Mindanews/22 September) – President Benigno S. Aquino III left this city Sunday, the 10th day of his stay here, but vowed that military operations will continue against the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) under founding chair Nur Misuari as the standoff entered its 14th day.
The President, who arrived here on September 13 to assess the situation but stayed on until September 22, said the operations should be “slow, sure and deliberate to ensure the safety and release of the hostages still being held by the group.
“Kailangan slow, sure at deliberate at pinag-isipan ng husto kung paano ma-accomplish yung primary mission of ensuring the safety of the hostages and civilians caught in the crossfire,” he said.
The President also said that while P3.89 billion is needed for rehabilitation, P6.2 billion from the calamity and discretionary funds are available.
The President left the city but the secretaries of Defense, Local Governments and Social Welfare, have remained.
“Uuwi ako dahil titingnan ko naman ang Batanes” (I’ll leave to check on Batanes), which was struck by typhoon Odetee, the President said.
Meanwhile, the President reiterated an earlier announcement that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is readying charges against Misuari.
He said the government has witnesses who could testify that Misuari had a hand in the standoff.
The DOJ on orders of Justice Secretary Leila De Lima has sent a special team of prosecutors to file cases against Misuari and the MNLF forces who were reported to have laid siege initially in four, later six villages out of 98 barangays. (MindaNews)