The southern Filipino port city of Zamboanga has asked the Commission on Elections to postpone village polls here this month following the three weeks of fighting between security and rebel forces.
The Crisis Management Committee headed by Mayor Maria Isabelle Salazar approved a resolution requesting the poll body to postpone the elections in view of the crisis situation. It also asked the poll body to exempt Zamboanga from the imposition of the gun ban.
Election Commissioner Christian Lim, who was present during the CMC meeting at City Hall, said he would recommend to the poll body the postponement of the polls in Zamboanga as well as the exemption of the city in the gun ban because of the “extraordinary” situation here.
The fighting left more than 400 people dead and wounded with over 100,000 villagers displaced by the violence.
Fighting erupted after Moro National Liberation Front rebels led by Ustadz Khabir Malik assaulted several villages and took over 200 people hostage and used then as shield. Authorities said most of the hostages have been freed by rebels or rescued by troops since the violence began in September 9 when rebels arrived by boats from Basilan and Sulu provinces without being detected by the police and military. AL JACINTO