Climaco wants end to kidnappings, but.. PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 13 March 2014 11:17

With the release of public school teacher Cathy Mae B. Casipong by her captors Tuesday and the increase of the city government’s support to the local police and military, Mayor Beng Climaco has challenged the local law enforcers to do everything possible in order to put an end to kidnappings in Zamboanga City.

Mayor Climaco issued the statement during a news conference yesterday morning in City Hall where she presented to the media the 23-year-old Casipong, who was released by her captors shortly before 7 p.m. Tuesday in the municipality of Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay.

Climaco stressed no ransom money was paid for Casipong’s freedom in compliance with the government’s “No ransom policy” in dealing with kidnappers.

She immediately informed Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and Education Undersecretary Rizalino Rivera about Casipong’s release.

“The police and the military are mandated to protect us and in cooperation with all of them, we hope that all other kidnappings will be stopped, but we cannot do it only amongst ourselves. We need the support of the barangay officials, we need the support of the people in the barangays,” Climaco appealed.

She urged the barangay officials to commit themselves in protecting primarily the schoolchildren and teachers as well by giving information to the proper authorities.

“What happened to teacher Casipong, the kidnappers unduly deprived her pupils of what would have been their joyful celebration of the season,” lamented Climaco, who is herself a former teacher.

To recall, Casipong and her two co- teachers at Sibuktu Elementary School on Limaong Island were on board a pump boat in the afternoon of Dec. 18, 2013 on their way to the mainland Zamboanga when a group of still unidentified armed men blocked their boat’s way and seized her.

The teachers were supposed to buy gifts for their pupils as they were planning for a sort of Christmas party the following day. It would have been Casipong’s first celebration with her pupils, for which she felt very disappointed that it did not push through.

“Sa mga estudyante ko, sorry kasi hindi na tuloy ang celebrasyon nong mga araw na nandoon ako sa kanila, hindi ko ho nakalimutan ang mga araw na pinangako ko sa kanila,  sabi ko bukas magsaya tayo,  magparty tayo. First time ko sanang magparty na kasama ang mga estudyante ko,” Casipong said between sobs.

She continued, “Inisip ko ho na itong mga estudyante ko ay gusto talagang mag-aral. Sinasabi nila sa akin ma’am wala akong pencil, wala akong paper pang-sulat, sabi ko sigi lang hiram na lang kayo sa mga classmate at magdala rin ako ng pencil, kasi gusto ko ang mga bata ay makapag-aral. Nakita ko ho early in the morning pumapasok sila, dito sila kumakain. Masakit ho ang nangyari na nakuha nila ako, na wala naman akong ginawa.”

She thanked the local government headed by the chief executive, the police, the military and all other people, especially her family, who helped in working out for her release.

In the meantime, the Division Office has given Casipong more days to rest with her family before she will go back to teaching, probably next school year- this time, in a school near her residence. — Vic Larato