PNP to seek postponement of Zamboanga City village polls
MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine National Police said Tuesday it will recommend the postponement of the barangay (village) elections in Zamboanga City until such time that the city recovers from the stand-off between government troops and members of the Moro National Liberation Front.
PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima said a recommendation will be made before the Commission on Elections for postponement of the polls in the entire Zamboanga City.
“We will be making proper recommendations with Comelec to allow Zamboanga City to recover first before holding the elections,” Purisima said during a press conference at Camp Crame.
Barangay polls are slated for October 28.
Following authorities’ declaration that the stand-off in Zamboanga City has ended, Purisima said clearing operations were still being conducted in areas affected by clashes.
Clearing operations will likely be finished in two weeks, Purisima said, but stressed that they are not planning to rush it so much as it may affect the quality of the operation.
During clearing operations, police authorities check houses in affected areas one by one to look for unexploded explosive devices, as well as for the apprehension of remaining MNLF rebels.
Deputy General Felipe Rojas Jr., deputy chief for Operations, said 13 bodies, in various stages of decomposition, were recovered from a house during Monday’s clearing operations.
Rojas said fire fights were still being reported, but the incidents did not occur at the center of the city but along the seashore, which indicated that the remaining rebels were already looking for a way to escape.