Hostage taking report in Bayog not true — LGU PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 25 February 2012 15:04

The Municipal Information Officer of Bayog, Zamboanga del Sur has denied that a hostage taking incident took place in the town.

“The Municipality of Bayog, Zamboanga del Sur has no problem on its peace and order. It is only some works of irresponsible journalists which made us appear to be in bad state,” said Bernadine Astillero-Gabawan in a press statement.

“Irresponsible reporting of journalists… Most of the time, they bombarded us in prints and on the air. We feel bad because no matter how our administration does its best to achieve our mission for our clienteles, bad press releases try to destroy us,” Gabawan lamented.

She said a call from the Philippine Information Agency registered in her phone at 12:58 p.m. of Feb.  20, 2012, checking the veracity of an information that about 10 journalists were allegedly held hostage in in Bayog.

Gabawan said when she checked with Bayog Police Station, the officer-in-charge, told her they also received the same information that made some of their personnel immediately respond to the situation.

The police said after they received a call about the alleged hostage taking on February 20, 2011 at 11:30 a.m., they immediately called the security personnel of TVI Resource Development, Inc. to confirm but according to the latter there was no truth on that matter.

At 12:00 noon on the same date, Bayog policemen proceeded to Sitio Balabag, Barangay Depore, Sur to check the veracity of the said report. Along the way, particularly at Sitio Malagac, Depore, they met a group of mediamen and asked them if they were really taken hostage but they said “no”, according to a police report.

The mediamen related that the reason why they were not able to pass by because one of the militiamen in the area told them the road was not passable because of a landslide.

The group told the police that they were at Sitio Balabag at about 1:00 a.m. on February 20, to monitor an alleged demolition of illegal mining structures.

“As alleged by Jong Cadion, NUJP chairman in Zamboanga del Sur, when they were about to move out of the said area, one of the SCAA militiamen told them they they “cannot” as per instruction, which prompted them to send text messages that they were held hostage,” the report stated.

“Further, they (mediamen) were told that two Army trucks under Lt. Col. Nasser M. Pendatun arrived to rescue them but still they refused to ride on it,” said the report.

It was about 3:00 p.m., when nine members of the group decided to leave the area while two of them were left behind —  Efren Superal and Michael Navarro.

The PNP did not end their investigation with these details but instead, at 5:00 p.m. they went to the residence of  Board Member Julieto Monding, in Buug, Zamboanga Sibugay to get some information about the incident. From this municipal official they got the names of the group.
National Union of Journalist of the Philippines:

1. Hirohito Jong Cadion - Frontline Mindanao Balita, Chairman
2. Efren Superal - Frontline Mindanao Balita
3. Gretchen Mondoy - Frontline Mindanao Balita
4. Vira Angelie Moriesto - Frontline Mindanao Balita
5. Emayflor T. Intig- Frontline Mindanao Balita
6. Jojo Besandre -DXKV
7. Lito Pedrano DXWO
8. Tony Bayamban Biznews
9. Judy Cogo - BNiznews
10. Michael Navarro - Human Rights Defenders
11. Edgar Baling- Human Rights Defenders

LGU-Bayog believes that this malicious propaganda was initiated by those who have their own personal motives...” persons who deliberately waste their time to tarnish Bayog’s hard-earned image.”

This LGU condemned such lame attacks against Mayor Leonardo L. Babasa’s governance.

It is disappointing that the said pseudo hostage victims who are expected to be vanguards of truth become avenues for manipulated and false info to spread,” said Gabawan.