President Benigno Aquino 3rd flew to Zamboanga City on Friday and handed food and medicines to soldiers who were defending the city against Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) fighters.
Palace deputy spokesman Abigail Valte said the President brought with him 4,000 bottles of Gatorade; 19 boxes or 4,000 strips of Enervon C; 5,000 tablets of Vitamin B Complex and Ascorbic Acid; 1,500 pieces of Globe Cell Cards; 1,500 pieces of Smart Cell Cards; 1,000 pieces of Sun Cell Cards; 440 cases of assorted candies and chocolates; and 4,000 boxes of Growers Nutribar.
In his speech, President Aquino commended the soldiers for upholding law and order in the Zamboanga impasse with rogue MNLF fighters.
“It’s not a habit of mine to issue orders without offering a helping hand of my own. I am here to help and sympathize, to the extent possible,” Aquino said.
“I don’t believe it’s proper for me to spend all my time in Manila while you here have to go at it alone. This problem has taken long enough; I’ve been with you since the beginning, and I’ll be here until the situation is resolved,” he added.
The President said that his government is working to ensure that a similar crisis does not happen again.
He emphasized that their objective is to resolve situation peacefully and not to allow groups to undermine peace.
”We have to recognize that there are certain people who have their own agenda, which is divorced from the interests of the majority, if not the entire country,” he said.
The President reminded the troops to be careful in carrying out their tasks.
“Let us keep safe. We have issued directives to our leaders, and told them how important each life is—those who are being rescued, and those of our armed forces and police,” Aquino said.