MNLF forces could have penetrated city proper had it not for Navy SEALS PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 23 September 2013 11:29

Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) gunmen who laid a bloody siege in five of the city barangaysresulting in the death at least 14 soldiers and policemen, 105 injured in action and over 100 innocent civilians injured as collateral damage could have wreaked more havoc and killed more people and destroy more properties in the city had the elite Philippine Navy SEALS  and Frogmen not engaged the invading MNLF forces in the seas off Rio Hondo in the early dawn of September 9.

A resident of Rio Hondo, an eyewitness to the gallantry of the Philippine Navy SEALS and Frogmen, but who refused to give his identity for security reason, said the SEALS and Frogmen were the first to engage the invading MNLF forces that resulted in the death of 1 elite SEALS and seriously injured six others. The gunbattlealerted the city of the siege and resulted in quick reinforcements from the military and police.

He said the invading MNLF forces could have been successful in hoisting their MNLF flag at City Hall that fateful early morning of Monday, had the reinforcing military forces and policemen not blocked and engaged the more than 100 fully armed MNLF elements who were already parading in the streets of Sta. Catalina and ready  to proceed to City Hall.

Other unconfirmed information revealed that allegedly after hoisting their MNLF flag at City Hall, they will show their presence in the city proper “if the city of Zamboanga was not earlier alerted” when they landed in Rio Hondo early dawn that Monday morning.

News reports of MNLF elements engaged in gunbattle in Sta. Catalina early Monday morning with the Philippine Marines after their bid was foiled, was to occupy the biggest government hospital, the Zamboanga City Medical Center, formerly the Zamboanga General Hospital which was constructed during the American Colonial Government, but MNLF fighters were again stopped by government forces at the junction of Sta. Catalina going to Talon-Talon and Lustre, where a fierce firefight raged for two weeks and sporadic gunfire is still heard as of this writing.

Zamboanga City could have been in a much dangerous situation had the MNLF forces were successful in their early dawn surprise attack and the whole city could have been a battleground. Had the MNLF elements succeeded in showing their presence in the business center of the city, where all the economic lifeblood of the city is found, the city could have been paralyzed of all its daily activities and isolated from the rest of the country since all airlines and shipping business were surely be cancelled for security reasons. It could have been a mayhem that cannot be healed by politics.

Who is to blame? The MNLF blamed the government for unfulfilling the provisions of the Final Peace Agreement of 1996 where former President Fidel V. Ramos signed it with MNLF Chairman Nur Misuari. The Philippine Government has denied but said the agreed provisions were fulfilled. Whatever it is, the destruction and loss of precious lives in Zamboanga City could not have happened if nobody started it and to point the blame on the government by the MNLF or by the government to the MNLF is now useless because both the Government and MNLF are suffering the consequences. The MNLF will suffer for their unpopular demand for independence which Zamboanga City and its people are innocent of and beyond its mandate to grant such request while the government will suffer from the vindictiveness and disobedience of a sector, that lives  from the hospitality of the government, but denies to be called citizens of the Philippines or ironically call themselves Filipinos in their own homeland. Amidst this unreasonable situation, Zamboanga City remains to be the “sacrificial pawn in the political chessboard of power hungry and ambitious political brokers or better still “pundits and carpetbaggers”.