MANILA, Sept. 25 (Xinhua) -- The Philippine government said Wednesday that life in Zamboanga City is now returning to normal despite the military's continued operations against the remaining armed members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) of Nur Misuari.
Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda in a news briefing said that classes have resumed in 149 elementary and secondary schools, or about 60 percent of the schools in the city since other establishments were still being used as evacuation centers.
He also said that operation of ships traveling to and from Tawi- Tawi also resumed after being cut off for 16 days.
The biggest shopping mall in the city also opened, he said.
"So we are now returning, hopefully, to full normalcy in areas which are no longer affected by the conflict in Zamboanga City and, hopefully, we will recover soon," Lacierda said.
But as to declaration that the conflict in Zamboanga was over, he said that it would be up to the people on the ground to decide.
Government troops were still pursuing the remnants of Misuari followers in Zamboanga City.
Over 130 people, more than 100 of them were MNLF members, were killed in the conflict which is already on its 17th day.
About 200 armed MNLF members under Misuari faction went to Zamboanga City but the military chanced upon them leading to firefight. The armed group snatched civilians and used them as their human shields.