By Priam F. Nepomuceno
MANILA, 16Sept2013 – Another fire and gunfire marked the second week of the stand-off between military and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) Misuari-faction members in Zamboanga City Monday.
The blaze occurred around 5:30 a.m. at Barangay Sta. Catalina.
Gunfire was heard around 6:00 a.m. and went on for more than 20 minutes.
The crisis in Zamboanga City started last Monday when MNLF members took several civilians hostage and engaged government security forces in a standoff.
Meanwhile, businessmen in Zamboanga City maintained a wary stance as they kept irregular business hours.
Many of the traders were quoted in the report as saying they would keep their shops open “depending on the situation.”
Police and military personnel provided security to the traders, who Mayor Isabelle Climaco-Salazar had asked to keep their establishments open.
As of Monday, work in all offices in Zamboanga City remain suspended except for agencies with frontline services.
Schools also remain closed Monday.
On Sunday afternoon, the Zamboanga City mayor asked her constituents to maintain their spirit of cooperation, saying this was no time for finger-pointing or rumor-mongering that may aggravate the situation.
“I urge you to divert all your effort to positive means that shall contribute in alleviating the lives of our people. This is no time for finger-pointing nor to spread rumors that cause people to panic, this is the time for mutual cooperation amongst all of us who are not only Zamboanguenos in name but Muslims, Christians and Lumads who have the heart of a real Zamboangueno, brave enough to rebuild this city,” she said.
Climaco-Salazar also reiterated that if she had her way, the tension would have ended soonest.
But she also reminded those behind the atrocities since last Monday that she would hold them responsible for the deaths, houses burned and hostages still suffering.
“May you be met with the full force of the law,” she said. (PNA)