By Priam Nepomuceno
MANILA, (PNA) — With the stand-off between the military and rogue Moro National Liberation Front members in Zamboanga City now on its third day, military spokesperson Brig. Gen. Domingo Tutaan, Jr. on Wednesday said the military is doing everything it can to prevent the violence from spilling over to Metro Manila and other parts the country.
“That’s a concern. We don’t want to have this spilling over to other areas most especially in whole of Mindanao, Luzon, and Visayas. All our units in the AFP are always looking into this to prevent it,” he added.
Tutaan also revealed that a sporadic firefight broke out between AFP units and rogue MNLF fighters in Barangay Sta. Catalina around 3 p.m. Wednesday.
“As we speak firefight is ongoing but not yet that much. It’s in the position where the MNLF breakaway group is staying,” he stressed.
Tutaan said that security forces on the ground are making calibrated response to contain the situation.
“There is ongoing fire in a school in Sta. Barbara. It started about an hour ago (around 4 p.m.) and it is also within the vicinity of Barangay Sta. Barbara mosque previously occupied by the breakaway force of the MNLF,” the AFP spokesperson disclosed.
Tutaan also said that there was a reported firefight in Barangay Canelar which resulted in the death of two MNLF fighters and wounding of another.
“There is one wounded in MNLF side who was brought to the hospital by PNP themselves , and two killed also from the MNLF breakaway,” he said.
Members of the armed group since Monday are contained in Barangays Sta. Catalina, Sta. Barbara, Rio Hondo, and Talon-Talon.
The rebels are still holding around 180 hostages, although there are reports that the breakaway MNLF group seized additional 30-37 hostages in Barangay Catalina Wednesday morning.