Security forces on Sunday continued operations to contain Muslim rebels after a week of violence in the southern Philippines that has killed at least 61 people and sent thousands fleeing.
Philippines army spokesman Ramon Zagala told reporters at a news conference in Zamboanga City that the army's top priority was keeping civilians safe.
More than 62,000 people have been displaced by the fighting which entered its 7th day on Sunday, hundreds of homes razed, a hospital burned down and civilians used as human shields by the rebels holding them hostage.
Sporadic firing resumed early morning at two districts in the southern Philippine City of Zamboanga as government troops moved to clear the rebels out of the villages. Houses were burned and explosions were heard during the gunfight.
Officials said several of the hostages had escaped their captors during the firefight.
The army said that at least 100 residents were trapped in rebel-held areas, while some residents stranded by the fighting appealed for food and water.
Amongst those killed in the fighting were 51 members of the breakaway faction of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). Ninety people have been wounded.
Zagala said his only demand was for the rebels to give themselves up and face justice.
A brief ceasefire collapsed on Saturday and troops were still battling rebels in Zamboanga, a port that is home to 800,000 people, and the nearby island of Basilan on Sunday, forcing thousands to flee.
The violence has paralyzed the port, shutting banks and businesses, setting around 300 houses on fire and grounding flights.
Four decades of conflict in the south have killed 120,000 people, displaced two million and stunted growth in the poor but resource-rich area. Muslims account for about 10 percent of the total population of 97 million.