Zamboanga International Airport
19 September 2013

President Benigno S. Aquino III inspected the Zamboanga International Airport as operations resumed after one week of cancelled flights due to the ongoing standoff between the military forces and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) factions.

In a press briefing, the President eagerly responded to questions concerning long-term solutions to the problem. He said that negotiations are ongoing and the government is open for peaceful talks with them. However, he insisted that they will respond immediately if the group plans to attack again. He reiterated that the safety of the hostages is his top priority, and that resolving the issue means securing the protection of all the residents who have been badly affected by the clash.

The President admitted that it will take a long way to restore Zamboanga City back to its normal state. The government has allotted P3.89 billion for operations that will include continuing relief assistance, education support, shelter assistance, and livelihood programs.

 As of the latest account, more than 103 people had been killed in the 11 days of fighting. There’s also an estimated worth of P10.5 million damages to property and 10,000 houses were destroyed.

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