Edwin Andrews Air Base, Zamboanga City
22 September 2013 

President Benigno S. Aquino III headed back to Manila after more than a week of stay in Zamboanga City to personally oversee the planning and monitoring of operations against the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) who instigated the conflict in the city that entered its 14th day.

According to the President, he needed to go back and attend to several engagements but he assured the Zamboangeños that a well-planned and long-term solution had been laid out for them and the city.  He added that the clearing and mapping out operation by the military force is still ongoing due to remaining threats in the conflict areas. He also reiterated that the Special Action Force should always prioritize the safety of affected residents and the remaining hostages since operations are risky and confidential.

Moreover, he admitted that it is unavoidable to not worry about the situation but he guaranteed that the army and the police force are always ready to respond anytime and anywhere. Meanwhile, the whereabouts of Nur Misuari and Habier Malik remain unknown but President Aquino said they will pay for their acts and that cases are to be filed against them by the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Regarding the post-conflict situations, the President said that the rehabilitation planning is in the process. Once the details are completed, the implementation will be carried out as soon as possible.

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