Military engineers to join Zamboanga rehab
MANILA, Philippines – Military engineers will take part in the rehabilitation of Zamboanga City after the clearing operations in conflict areas that have been the scene of fighting between government forces and the Moro National Liberation Front rebels are completed, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said.
He told reporters that engineers will be deployed after the second phase of the conflict. The first part was the three-week gunbattle, and the second was clearing operations. Third part would be the rehabilitation.
The clearing operations officially started on September 28 when the siege was declared over after the hostages were reportedly accounted for. The police have taken the lead in the operations.
But the clearing operations had slowed down because of the rains brought by the intertropical convergence zone in the past few days, according to Lieutenant Colonel Jose Randolf Sinocruz, spokesman of Task Force Zampelan (Zamboanga Peninsula-Lanao).
He could not immediately say, however, when the clearing operations would be finished.
Gazmin originally said when he declared the siege over that the clearing operations would take up to two weeks.
He said they were still assessing if a new batch of engineers would augment the Army’s 52nd Engineering Brigade based in Bukidnon that would lead the rehabilitation in Zamboanga City after the clearing operations.
Colonel Vicente Yordan, chief of Army’s 51st Engineering Brigade based in Quezon City, said they would be ready for deployment anytime.
“We were already notified that if in case an augmentation of troops is needed, we’ll go there. We are prepared,” he told reporters.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.