MANILA, Philippines – The Zamboanga City government on Friday ordered the forced evacuation of residents in five villages affected by the conflict between government forces and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).
“City Council approved last night Ordinance 418, implementing forced evacuation in Rio Hondo, Sta. Barbara, Sta. Catalina, Talon-Talon, [and] Mampang,” the local government said in its Twitter account.
It said the forced evacuation was “a resort when a disaster, emergency has been declared in Zamboanga City and danger or loss of lives becomes imminent.”
“Local authorities with the help of police [and] military will prevent evacuees from returning to conflict areas and leaving the evacuation centers until Mayor Beng Climaco declares ‘back to normal’ status,” the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Western Mindanao also said on its Facebook.
Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II earlier said MNLF forces have been surrounded in five out of almost 100 villages in the city.
As of Thursday, 3,181 families or 14,859 individuals were staying at 13 evacuation centers in Zamboanga City.
The clashes have left several people dead while dozens of people were held hostage by the MNLF. With Frances Mangosing