ZAMBOANGA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III already arrived in Zamboanga City on Friday morning as the clash between the government troops and Muslim rebels came on its fifth day.
Communications Secretary Ricky Carandang confirmed through a text message that Aquino “has just arrived in Zamboanga”, hours after the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) set free a Catholic priest they hold for four days.
He earlier said that Aquino left Manila and flew to Zamboanga at 7:30 am.
On the other hand, the palace did not give any information regarding Aquino’s trip.
“We will secure him wherever he wants to go,” military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Ramon Zagala told Armed Forces of the Philippines, referring to the potential threats on Aquino’s security.
Meanwhile, Carandang said that the discussions about the president visiting the area were done during the press conference on Thursday but there was no plan at that time for him to go.
“The decision to leave was made last night upon discussion with people on the ground,” Carandang further said.
Faye Michelle Regis
ABCom, Leyte Normal University