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Beng seeks TF Sulu’s help to rescue Zambo workers

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Mayor Beng Climaco has sought the assistance of Joint Task Force Sulu commander Brig. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana to exhaust all means possible to have the five Zamboangueño construction workers rescued from or freed by their captors the soonest time possible.

Climaco immediately contacted Gen. Sobejana upon receipt of the information about the kidnapping incident that took place at 1:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 15, 2017 at Kawnpang Elementary School Sports Complex in Barangay Bangkal, Patikul, Sulu, where five Zamboangueño construction workers were reportedly abducted while in their sleep by armed men believed to be Abu Sayyaf Group members.

The kidnap victims were identified as Joel Adanza, Jung Guererro,  Momoy Ramos, Jayson Ramos and Jenly Miranda, all residents of Barangay Tumaga, this city.

The victims’ companion identified as Larry Velasquez, 25, single, also of Tumaga, this city was able to escape from the armed men and reported the incident to the police.

Police and military authorities in Patikul immediately launched a joint search and possible rescue operation, to no avail. Continuous information gathering was conducted to determine the whereabouts of the victims.

Meanwhile, the kidnappers had reportedly contacted one of the victims’ families and demanded P1 million ransom money in exchange for their captives’ freedom.

However, Climaco maintained that the local government of Zamboanga strictly adheres to the government’s “No Ransom” policy, and that negotiations for the captives’ release are been undertaken by authorized agencies of government such as the anti-kidnapping task group.

As a matter of policy being a politician, Climaco said she would distance herself from the negotiations as it would embolden the kidnappers to insist on their demand.

The mayor met yesterday morning with the victims’ families in Tumaga, where she extended assistance through the City Social Welfare and Development Office.

“We hope and pray for their safety,” Climaco said of the captives, adding that her office will only facilitate the meeting between the families and the negotiating team, but never will she get involve herself in the actual talks with the kidnappers.

What is important, she said, communication is now open between the negotiating team and the kidnappers.

As this developed, the chief executive through the City Engineer’s Office wrote a letter to the Los Contratistas  de la Ciudad de Zamboanga Inc., asking if possible to hire local laborers for their construction activities to prevent these local skilled workers from leaving the city and work in risky places just as what happened to the five Zamboangueño workers in Patikul.-(Vic Larato/PR)




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