(2 SEPARATE ABDUCTIONS) Brgy chief, 2 Coast Guards, mining firm employee seized PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 05 May 2015 16:24

By DAN TORIBIO JR. and BHONG SIMBAJON

Gunmen clad in military and police uniform seized early Monday a barangay chairman and two Coast Guard officers in Aliguay Island, a plush beach resort off Dapitan City, Zamboanga del Norte.

In Tawi-Tawi, suspected Abu Sayyaf gunmen abducted an employee of a mining company operating in the province of Tawi-Tawi over the weekend.

Police said Aliguay Barangay Chairman Roberto Bulagao, SN2 Gringo Villaruz and SN1 Rod Pagaling were grabbed by gunmen suspected as Abu Sayyaf militants around 1 a.m. while they were monitoring the arrival of seacraft in the island.

Police said the armed island visitors introduced themselves as police and military personnel and asked about the presence of some tourists.

Several minutes later, the gunmen grabbed Bulagao and the two Philippine Coast Guard personnel then dragged them to two motorboats.that sped towards unknown direction.

Hot pursuit operations have been mounted by police and military forces to rescue the three hostages.

The incident is the first case of abduction in Dapitan City, site of two high end resorts frequented by foreign and domestic tourists and holiday makers.

Last month, suspected kidnap-for-ransom gunmen seized a town mayor in neighboring Zamboanga Sibugay province and two children and a teenager in Zamboanga del Sur province

One of the trio seized - Zynielle Jay Garban, 2, a granddaughter of a town mayor - was found dead a day after the abduction.

The two other hostages - Ace, 3, and bakery worker Ledegie Tomarong, 17 - are still missing.

Two days later Mayor Gemma Adana of Naga town, Zamboanga Sibugay province, was seized from her home and forced onto motorboat

According to police and military authorities Adana was turned over to the Abu Sayyaf and is being kept in Sulu province.

Police sources the kidnap-for-ransom gangs turn their captives over to the Abu Sayyaf and negotiate for a ransom that, if paid, is shared with the al-Qaeda-linked group.

In July last year, the nine-year-old daughter of a businessman was snatched in Olutanga town, Zamboanga Sibugay, at a family-owned eatery, and a school official was taken in August.

This year, the gangs snared a Korean businessman in January and a head teacher and teacher in March.

The kidnappers use isolated sea-lanes and coastal areas to grab their victims, who are then held captive in isolated Muslim villages in the peninsula.

Reports reaching Western Mindanao Command disclosed that Nonong Garcia, Finance  Officer of a mining company, was seized by four armed men wearing camouflage combat clothes and concealing their faces with balaclava masks shortly before midnight last Sunday at  Beach Side Inn,  Barangay Simandagit,Bongao,Tawi-Tawi.

Armed with high-caliber firearms, the abductors dragged Garcia to a waiting speedboat powered by double-engines — 40 horsepower each, which headed Languyan island.

An immediate pursuit operation was mounted by Philippine Navy and police forces of Bongao to locate the victim and his abductors. However, there was no positive result  as of presstime.

A more diversified search and rescue mission has been organized by the local crisis committee of Bongao together with the military and the police in Tawi-Tawi for the fast recovery of the victim. — Dan Toribio Jr. and Bhong Simbajon