Siege takes heavy toll on Zambo businesses

Local bankers assures sufficient money via teller machines

Staff Member

AS the standoff between the government forces and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) continues to paralyze banks’ operation in Zamboanga City, business activities absorb the heaviest toll.

Yesterday, the local bankers association has assured the public there will be sufficient money in the different banks’ Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) within the city.

The standoff started Monday when hundreds of Misuari-faction Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) rebels infiltrated this city.

Zamboanga City Bankers and Financiers Association (ZCBFA) president Alma Paculanan yesterday said that if the public needs cash, they can easily withdraw through ATM machines.

Paculanan has assured the depositors that the banks will be opened for business once the situation will normalize.

However, Paculanan said this will still depend on the discretion of the bank’s management.

Some of the ZCBFA member-banks have opened for few hours Wednesday morning and accommodated some of the passbook holders, according to Paculanan.

ZCBFA has a total of 58 member banks and three lending institutions operating in this southern port city.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) has suspended the operation of its port in Zamboanga.

The agency blamed the shutdown of the Zamboanga City Baseport on the ongoing crisis.

The Port of Dapitan in Zamboanga del Norte however remains open.

The Zamboanga Baseport has a total cargo throughput of 1.71 million metric tons, based on 2012 data. Of the total, domestic cargo reached 1.65 million metric tons and international cargo, 63,519.

The port also handled 2.41 million domestic passengers last year.

Zamboanga City Baseport is the main port of entry in the region. As the region’s commercial center, Zamboanga City serves as the peninsula’s trade link to other Southeast Asian nations, and to the rest of the world.

The port’s closure is expected to further paralyze trade in the city as the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) extended the suspension of operation of the Zamboanga International Airport.

Thirty commercial flights were cancelled in yesterday’s operation, and passengers affected by flight cancellations were advised to contact their respective airlines carriers for flight schedules.

Philippine Airlines (PAL) has cancelled a total of 33 flights to/from Zamboanga since September 9, affecting more than 2,500 passengers.

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