Freed Filipina recalls ordeal in hands of Abus PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 08 June 2014 14:39

MIDSAYAP, North Cotabato — A Filipino woman migrant worker recalled her ordeal while in captivity in southern Philippines for nearly two months, saying she never thought of coming out alive and be with her family again.

Mercedita “Marcy” Dayawan, a 40-year-old Filipino and Gao Hua Yuan, 29 years old, student from Shanghai, were taken by seven suspected Abu Sayyaf Group from the Singamata Adventures Reef and Resort off Malaysia’s state of Sabah.

They were freed May 30 to a Malaysian negotiator who traveled to Sulu from Sabah.

She recalled that she thought the kidnappers would kill her and throw overboard hours after they were taken at the resort at 10 p.m. on April 2.

“We traveled by speed boat from Sabah to Sulu during which I told them that I was not Gao’s helper as they thought me to be thus they abducted me too,” Dayawan said.

”They kept on telling us that all they need was money from Gao’s family,” Dayawan said in an interview with Church-run Radio DXMS here.

Dayawan who hails from the village of Bual Norte here, said she acted like Gao’s personal assistant all throughout their captivity.

”I have no choice, it was I who can communicate with the captors in Pilipino and Gao in English,” she said.

She said the kidnappers earlier demanded Php500 million (about USD 11 million) ransom in exchange for her liberty. “I was not sure if ransom was paid but we were repeatedly told by Malaysian authorities that no ransom was paid,” she said.

Philippine police and military authorities were convinced the two women were seized by the ASG under Commander Alhabsi Misaya and kept for almost two months in the jungles of Indanan in Sulu.

Dayawan recalled that there were about 70 armed men who kept them in the jungles of Sulu and their leader was called Misaya or Maas (elder).

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak broke the news that Gao and the Filipina woman were “rescued” by joint Malaysian and Philippine police authorities and that no ransom was paid.

Dayawan who is now reunited with her family said that she and Gao became “close” that the Chinese student cried heavily when they parted ways in Kuala Lumpur after their release.

Dayawan also said the kidnappers respected their privacy throughout their captivity. “They did not harm us, they respected us as women,” she said, adding that two or four heavily armed men kept an eye on them.

Gao, according to Dayawan, celebrated his 29th birthday on April 8 in the jungles of Sulu with the kidnappers giving them several fried chicken and cooked rice.

”We were always fed with fried chicken and other special food the kidnappers bought somewhere in the downtown,” she said.

Dayawan said she is still considering working abroad but not anymore in Malaysia. She admitted she was an illegal migrant in Sabah, coming there 13 years ago via the “southern backdoor.”