Day 12: When will the Zamboanga city crisis end?
MANILA, Philippines - On the 12th day, the crisis in Zamboanga is contained, but not over.
Carmela Fonbuena reports.
It's Day 12 of the Zamboanga City Crisis, and everyone's asking: When will crisis end?
40 MNLF fighters are standing their ground on the boundary of barangay Catalina and barangay Sta Barbara.
Two civilians were caught in the latest gunfire. Both are wounded.
Government troops vow to hunt down MNLF commander Habier Malik but he continues to evade arrest.
The rebels are still holding 20-50 hostages.
RAMON ZAGALA, AFP SPOKESMAN: Humihingi kami ng paumanhin sa lahat. Ang pace ng paglusong ay deliberate. Nag-iingat tayo. Sana maintindihan ng lahat hindi ito pwedeng madalian lalo na kung may civilian. Dadating ang panahon na magkakaroon tayo ng decisive action. Malapit na. (We ask for everyone’s patience. The pace of the operation is deliberate. We’re being cautious. We hope everyone understands we cannot rush this because there are civilians involved. We will come to the point where we can make a decisive action. It won’t take long.)
The biggest question of all: How come the rebels are not running out of bullets?
RAMON ZAGALA, AFP SPOKESMAN: Itong MNLF-Misuari ... defensive action. Konti ang ginagamit na bala. Mas madami tayo ginagamit. We need a lot of ammunition to push them back. (The MNLF-Misuari is in defensive action. They are using less ammunition. We use more.)
Outside the battle zone, things are slowly going back to normal. If there's something that can prove it best, it's the traffic.
MAR ROXAS, INTERIOR SECRETARY: Traffic jam.. isang hudyat na bumabalik sa normalidad…Kahapon two flights ngayon, more. Maaaring magsimula na din Zamboanga-Cebu route. (The traffic jam is one sign that things are going back to normal. In Airlines, there were only 2 flights yesterday. Today there are more. The Zamboanga-Cebu route may resume today as well.)
Out of the estimated 200 rebels that attacked Zambaonga City on September 9, 92 were killed. 72 were arrested and 39 have surrendered.
FELIPE ROJAS JR., PNP DEPUTY CHIEF OF OPERATIONS: It's a good sign. Discouraged na sila. They are surrendering. Hopeful tayo na soon matatapos ito. (They are discouraged. We’re hoping this will end soon.)
Will the rebels go to jail?
FELIPE ROJAS JR., PNP DEPUTY CHIEF OF OPERATIONS: Sumasailalim sila sa proseso CIDG at pagkuha ng sinumpaang salaysay. Lahat ito papasok sa inquest proceeding. File-an kaso ayon sa prosecutor ng DOJ. ([The rebels] are being processed by the CIDG and they are giving their sworn statements. They will all undergo inquest proceeding. The DOJ prosecutor says cases will be filed.) General charge is rebellion. Nakapaloob na doon ang murder, arson, violation of international humanitarian law. (General charge is rebellion which already includes murder, arson, and violation of international humanitarian law.)
The problem is the Hall of Justice is located inside the battle zone. The city officials say they are looking for a temporary office so they can convene and charges can be filed already.
Ever resilient, Zamboanga City springs back to life.
But it's not over until it's over.
At sundown, an explosion occurs in a bus terminal located outside the battle zone.
Carmela Fonbuena, Rappler, Zamboanga City.