Binay: Misuari agrees to ceasefire in Zamboanga
Posted at 09/14/2013 12:09 AM | Updated as of 09/14/2013 11:43 AM
MANILA (3rd UPDATE) - Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) leader Nur Misuari has agreed to a ceasefire in Zamboanga City, Vice-President Jejomar Binay said Friday night.
Binay told radio dzMM has has talked to Misuari and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin about the truce in the southern port city, which has been under siege for more than 5 days.
"There is now an agreement for a peaceful settlement. We just have to start the process na magkaroon po ng ceasefire ngayong gabi," he said.
Binay said the ceasefire is effective immediately, while in-depth talks will are planned to be held starting Saturday.
"I had the opportunity to talk both Misuari and Gazmin and both agreed to have a peaceful settlement of our problem in Zamboanga," he told ANC in a separate interview.
"Nagkasundo po silang dalawa," he said.
"Ako po ay nangako, maghahanap na ako ng masasakyan, pupunta na po ako ng Zamboanga para mapagusapan po iyung details," he said.
"Hindi ko po alam kung si (Misuari po ay makakarating pero ang importante po, nagkausap po kami... for a peaceful settlement," Binay said.
He cited the rising number of casualties in the fighting between government troops and Nur's separatist forces in Zamboanga City.
"Lalo na po report nitong huli 22 na patay, panalangin po sana natin na tuloy tuloy na magkaroon ng peaceful setttlement," he said.
"Kung magkakaroon ng ceasefire, (it is) a good indication na handang mag usap silang dalawa for a peaceful settlement," Binay said.
Binay and Misuari were batchmates and knew each other at the University of the Philippines.
Binay declined to say who initiated the talks.
He also indicated that he did not personally inform President Aquino about his talks with Misuari.
"Probably Secretary Gazmin would've relayed that to the President," he said.
Binay said the truce won't mean a surrender.
"Nobody's surrendering here. First, there's a ceasefire this evening and tomorrow, we talk of the details of peaceful settlement," he said.
As of posting, however, the Armed Forces said Gazmin has yet to make an announcement regarding the ceasefire.
Fighting is still ongoing in parts of Zamboanga.
"Police Operations Division says no order of a ceasefire. For your information and guidance," the city government said on Twitter early Saturday moning.
It added that police operations are ongoing in the villages of Lustre and Sta. Barbara. "No casualties, released hostages," it said.
The fighting in Zamboanga has killed 22 people and left 52 others wounded.
It has also displaced more than 25,000 people, with the number expected to rise after city officials on Friday ordered the forced evacuation of families in the conflict zone.
Zamboanga City Mayor Beng Climaco said previous negotiations to end the crisis peacefully have failed and it's now up to President Aquino to decide on what action to take next. - with a report from Roxanne Arevalo, ABS-CBN Zamboanga