An eight-year old kidnapped victim from Zamboanga Sibugay was reunited with his parents in the presence of President Rodrigo Duterte in Malacañan on Tuesday, February 28, following seven months of captivity from the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Sulu.
Presidential peace adviser Jesus Dureza presented the child to President Duterte. He was abducted with his family in Zamboanga Sibugay in August last year and was freed last Monday, February 27.
The family was brought to Sulu after they were kidnapped. The mother, Nora, was released in August 22 after paying a small amount, according to Dureza. Elmer, the father, was freed last November 13 after handing over P1 million, thinking the son will also be released.
Dureza said the family sold everything, including their sari-sari store, and borrowed from friends and relatives to raise the ransom money.
Dureza said he was instructed by the President to work for the release of the boy and with the help of Sulu Gov. Abdusakur Tan and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) members, was eventually reunited with his parents.
Dureza said the boy will undergo psychiatric trauma treatment, noting that the President will also assist the family so they can start a new life away from Mindanao.
The family, whose life was in shambles after selling all possessions, decided to leave Zamboanga Sibugay and relocated with relatives outside Metro Manila, according to Dureza.
He also clarified that no ransom money was paid in freeing the boy since the family no longer has the money after disposing its source of livelihood.
President Duterte expressed his gratitude to Secretary Dureza, and Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan for their humanitarian job.
The President however said that there will be a lot of work to do in freeing some reported captives saying, “I would like to assure everybody that for as long as there is violence being perpetrated, the Republic of the Philippines will continue with its military operations.”
But in order for the military to be effective, the President said the soldiers would need new equipment as well as fast boats, frigates and more helicopters.
“We plan to purchase more helicopters. The numbers, I would not want to tell you now but I have to improve on our night-flying capability. We’re nearing to it,” the President said.
But for those in Mindanao who want reintegration or ceasefire, the President reiterated that it is also his desire to adopt a federal system of government.
PRRD expresses sympathies to Kantner’s family
At the same time, the President extended his sympathies to the family of German national Jurgen Gustav Kantner, who was brutally murdered by the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu.
“I am very sorry that the hostage or a national of your country has been beheaded. I sympathize with the family. I commiserate with the German people,” President Duterte said.
The President also told Kantner’s family and the German government that his administration really tried its best to secure the safety of the victim.
The President also tackled the anti-illegal drug campaign, saying that he has ordered Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Dir. Gen. Ronald Dela Rosa during Monday’s command conference to recruit patriotic young men in the PNP to be the members of the task force.
“Every station should have one pero ‘yung piling-pili, ‘yung walang mga kaso at walang history ng corruption,” he said.###PND