Zamboanga City lifts curfew

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews / 2 December) – The Crisis Management Committee (CMC) has unanimously approved a resolution lifting the implementation of curfew hours in this city effective today.

The curfew has been in effect since September 9, the first day of the standoff when hundreds of Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) rebels loyal to founding chair Nur Misuari laid siege in this city.

Mohammad Taha Arakama, city director of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), said the resolution was unanimously approved during the CMC meeting held Thursday last week following recommendations from top local police and military officials since the peace and order situation has normalized.

Arakama made the announcement during the program “Tribute to Heroes” in front of City Hall attended by local government employees, police and military officials and from the academe.

The program was meant to remember in a special way those who have risked their lives in defense of Zamboanga against the MNLF rebels.

Arakama said the resolution was unanimously approved following the proposal of Councilor Roel Natividad, chairman of the City Council’s Committee on Peace and Order, and seconded by City Administrator Antonio Orendain Jr., both of whom sit as CMC members.

Arakama sits as CMC member and head of the secretariat representing the DILG.

“Resolved, as it is hereby resolved, to approve the recommendation of the Task Force Zamboanga and the Zamboanga City Police Office the lifting of curfew hours in Zamboanga City starting December 2,” the CMC resolution said.

The curfew was first implemented for 10 hours since September 9 by the CMC chaired by Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar.

Salazar gradually shortened the curfew to six hours, from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m., and further to four hours, from 12 midnight to 4 a.m., following the request of the business sector.

“Today, we began anew as we transition from the crisis to rehabilitation,” Salazar said of the lifting of the curfew.

Senior Supt. Denis Basngi, city police director, said he might assign more policemen in the streets, especially at night time, with the lifting of the curfew, as it is expected that the number of civilians going around will increase.

Lt. Gen. Rustico Guerrero, Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) chief, said his command through the Task Force Zamboanga will enhance the security measures in support to the local police force.