MANILA, Philippines — Over 100 police personnel were deployed to Zamboanga City Friday to augment government troops fighting members of the Moro National Liberation Front as the standoff continued on its fifth day, according to the Region III Police Office.
Chief Superintendent Edgardo Ladao said the 120-man contingent from the region’s Regional Public Safety Battalion, led by Senior Inspectors Elias Tait and Alipio Villavicencio, was sent to Zamboanga City in line with the “Tour of Duty of PNP Personnel Deployed in Armed-Conflict Areas, Counter- Insurgency Operations and other Similar Serious Threats to National Security”.
Ladao said the deployed police officers were among the best and skilled personnel who have undergone tactical and combatant trainings.
“Courage is being afraid, but going on anyhow. Fear of the unknown and uncertainty is but natural. But remember that it is in the most adverse situations that great opportunities come. Be proud that you were chosen for this mission and that you are among the few who have
heed to the call of duty. Above all, do not forget to pray.” Ladao said, borrowing a quote from Dan Rather, an American journalist and former CBS Evening News anchor.
The troops will remain deployed in Zamboanga City until the situation normalizes.
The standoff between government forces and MNLF rebels in Zamboanga City started Monday after they took hostage dozens of civilians from Barangay (village) Sta. Catalina.
Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas said five villages were affected, but added that the MNLF rebels have been surrounded by government troops in a “very, very small portion of Zamboanga City.”