The military has rejected an appeal for them to suspend rescue operations for three Negrense fishermen kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf bandits off Sulo province on March 19.
"We cannot just step aside and let the negotiations (proceed) because that’s a terrorist act and we don’t deal with terrorists”, Armed Forces spokesman Commodore Miguel Jose Rodriguez said.
The kidnappers of Negrense fishermen Jonald Ocsimar, Renato Panesales and Wennie Ferrer, who work for the Zamboanga-based Mega Fishing Corporation, are demanding P4 million each from their employers, that has been lowered from their previous demand of P20 million.
Marivic Ocsimar, wife of Jonald, is pleading with the military to stop the rescue operations and allow the management of Mega Fishing to negotiate with the suspected Abu Sayyaf kidnappers.
Rodriguez said that if they will stop their rescue operations, “There will be more kidnappings and it may become a full-blown industry”. He, however, added that the suspension of rescue operations lies with the commander leading it.
Pursuit operations by Marines recently led to an encounter with the suspected abductors in Darayan, Patikul, Sulu, where three suspected kidnappers were killed. Troops recovered from the encounter site the seaman book of Panisales and personal belongings of the slain kidnappers.
Marivic said she was able to talk with her husband on the phone three times and he told her there were many soldiers in the area where they are being held by their abductors. She added that this endangers the life of her husband and her two companions.
Two elite Army’s Scout Ranger and Special Forces Battalions, composed of the Special Operations Task Force and headed by Colonel Alexander Macario, are helping other Marine and infantry units in the rescue of three abducted Negrense fishermen being held by the group of ASG headed by Furuji Endama.
Relatives of the kidnapped fishermen in Hinobaan and Sipalay City, also sought the help of Senior Supt. Allan Guisihan, provincial police director of Negros Occidental.
Guisihan said Camp Crame is also closely coordinating with the PNP forces in Sulo to check on the status of the victims.*GPB