MANILA - Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas on Friday issued a clarification on his September 9 message regarding the 2013 Zamboanga siege, saying no offense was intended.
Roxas drew flak from netizens and residents of Zamboanga City after he posted on his Facebook page a message greeting Zamboangueños a "happy anniversary" in connection with the September 9, 2013 siege of the city by members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) led by Nur Misuari.
"Hi, fellow veterans of the Zamboanga siege. Happy anniversary! Just wanted to take a moment and reflect and thank you for your leadership and commitment to welfare of our people and country. Maraming salamat. Being with you all those 21 days has touched me indelibly. Know that our country stands strong and our flag flies high because of you and the men and women like you. We battle on! Mabuhay ang Pilipinas," the original message read.
Just a few minutes after it was posted, however, the message was edited and the words "happy anniversary" were taken out.
In a statement on Friday, Roxas stressed that he only wished to greet Zamboangueños and government forces for their unity and determination to keep peace and order in the city during the siege.
"Ang pinagdaanan natin noon ay naging pagsubok sa determinasyon at tatag ng mga mamamayan ng Zamboanga noong panahong nabasag ang payapang buhay dahil sa paglusob ng mga pariwarang miyembro ng MNLF. Ang tapang at disiplina ng AFP, PNP, at ang pagkakaisa ng mga Zamboangueño ay patunay ng pangingibabaw ng batas at peace and order," he said.
"It was in this sense that I greeted our compatriots and comrades. To those who may have taken offense, none was intended," he added.