Sep 092013

MANILA, Philippines – All commercial flights to and from Zamboanga remain suspended on Tuesday due to the ongoing conflict between government troops and members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said.

“Yung aming Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) ay hanggang alas-9 lang sana kagabi (Monday night) pero ang aming information from the Armed Forces, sa intelligence unit nila, and aming sariling intelligence people, ine-extend po namin ang suspension hanggang alas-9 ng gabi ngayong araw na ito (Tuesday),” said CAAP Deputy Director General Rodante Joya.

About 10 flights will be affected for the second day of the travel suspension. On Monday, 10 flights were also canceled, stranding 1,500 passengers. Cargo planes are also covered by the suspension, Joya said.

Zamboanga City Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco appealed to CAAP to lift the suspension as it is affecting commerce in the city, but Joya said there were reports of stray bullets reaching the airport’s runway. The airport is about 3 to 4 kilometers away from the conflict area.

Classes in all levels and work are also suspended for the day.

The conflict broke out on Monday as MNLF forces reportedly ask for the recognition of Bangsamoro Republik, an unrecognized government declared independent last month by its leader Nur Misuari.

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At least four were reported killed while 14 were injured according to the city government. About 170 more were kept hostage by the group.

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