The death toll in the fighting in Zamboanga City rose to 140 on the 16th day of the standoff between the military and the MNLF rebels on Tuesday—even as the number of houses destroyed there rose to 10,160, the military said.
Armed Forces Deputy public affairs chief Maj. Angelo Guzman said 13 soldiers had been killed and 148 were wounded so far, while five policemen were killed and 14 were wounded and 12 civilians were killed and 51 were wounded.
He said 110 MNLF fighters were killed, 93 were captured and 45 surrendered, while 182 people taken hostage by the rebels but eventually were rescued reached 182.
The soldiers killed in the fighting included three young officers who were all graduates of the Philippine Military Academy. They were 1Lt. John Kristopher Toll ...
Rama, 30; 2Lt. Florencio Mikael Meneses, 27; and 1Lt. Francis Damian, 28.
The Office of Civil Defense said the number of houses destroyed were apart from the buildings and other structures that were equally destroyed during the fighting, which analysts said did not appear to be ending soon.
Authorities said the MNLF rebels had been burning houses when cornered to conceal themselves and flee to safety, and that the initial estimate of the damage to property and other infrastructure was P4 billion.
Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said his department had set aside P3.89 billion to rehabilitate Zamboanga City.
“President Aquino has personally attended to the situation in Zamboanga to ensure that peace and security are immediately restored in the city,” Abad said.
“The administration’s efforts to bring back order in Zamboanga include the provision of relief aid for displaced families, as well as the implementation of rehabilitation that will help the communities recover from the recent conflict.”
Abad said the money will come from the 2013 Contingency and Calamity Funds.
“By their very design, the Contingency and Calamity Funds should support relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction activities and other services,” he said. With Jennifer Ambanta, with PNA