Palace to gunmen in Zambo: Stand down or face force

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MANILA -- Malacañang urged the gunmen behind the ongoing attacks in Zamboanga to stand down or face military action.


"The forces of the state are ready to exercise the resolve of the government. While the government is exhausting all avenues for a peaceful resolution to the situation, let it be clear to those defying us that they should not entertain the illusion that the state will hesitate to use its forces to protect our people," presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said.

"Instead, it is time for you to cooperate to resolve this situation peacefully at the soonest possible time."

The statement came after President Aquino met with some cabinet members at the office of Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office (PCDSPO) Secretary Ricky Carandang at the New Executive Building.

Among the cabinet members present were presidential adviser on the peace process Ging Deles, foreign affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario, cabinet secretary Rene Almendras.

The Palace said the firefight in Basilan was brought about by groups taking advantage of the situation, naming the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and the Abu Sayyaf Group.

The military is now on a "hot pursuit" operation against elements of the groups.

"As for others who seek to take advantage of the situation, you will fail," Lacierda said.

"The BIFF and ASG assumed they could take advantage of the situation. They were wrong. As others who will also make similar attempts will be proven wrong."

There is still no declaration of state of emergency in Zamboanga.

The Palace assured the people of Zamboanga City and the BASULTA area of continued support.

Supplies, Lacierda said, will be provided through the Departments of Transportation and Communications and the Trade and Industry.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas has been asked "to ensure sufficient supplies of currency" in the city. 

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