AFP: We don't want war
MANILA -- "The last thing we want is war."
This was the statement of Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala as the standoff between government forces and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) group under Nur Misuari enters its fifth day today.
In an interview with radio dzMM Friday morning, Zagala said their mission is just to contain the rebels in the area and not to take offensive action against them.
"The last thing we want ay giyera. Bilang sundalo, ayaw din po namin ng giyera," he said.
But he clarified that they will not hesitate to take action if the MNLF rebels commit atrocities against civilians.
The rebel group is currently holding some 170 civilians hostage.
Zagala said lines of communication remain open to the rebel group for a peaceful resolution to the standoff.
Meanwhile, Zagala reiterated that they do not believe that the siege in Zamboanga City did not have the blessing of Misuari.
Zamboanga City Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco on Thursday said Misuari disowned the actions of his top commander, Ustadz Habier Malik.
"Kami po'y hindi naniniwala na walang kamay si Chairman Nur Misuari sa mga action dito," Zagala said.
"We want to qualify na ang hinaharap natin dito at ang nagplano nito at nandito ngayon sa Zamboanga City ay ang Misuari MNLF faction. Hindi po natin nilalahat ang MNLF," he added, noting that the AFP believes majority of the MNLF are "peace-loving."