• Kidnappers free Zambo teacher

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    ZAMBOANGA CITY: Kidnappers have freed a government teacher they seized in Zamboanga City after three months in captivity in southern Philippines, officials said.

    Officials said Cathy Casipong, who was seized by 10 gunmen in December, had been freed Tuesday night in Ipil town in Zamboanga Sibugay province. Casipong, who teaches at the Sibogtok Elementary School in Limaong Island, was immediately recovered by security forces after her family informed authorities of her release.

    It was unknown if ransom has been paid to the kidnappers in exchange for Casipong’s freedom. She was brought to the army brigade headquarters in Ipil town where she is reunited with her family.

    Capt. Jefferson Mamauag, a spokesman for the 1st Infantry Division, said Casipong was freed at a bus terminal in Ipil.“The safe release of the kidnapped victim was done through the efforts of the military and police,” he told The Manila Times.

    Zamboanga City Mayor Maria Isabelle Salazar also confirmed the release of Casipong and said the teacher will have to undergo medical treatment. Salazar gave no further details about Casipong’s release.

    “Mayor Climaco officially confirms the release of kidnapped teacher Cathy Casipong at 6:40 p.m. in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay. This is the fruit of coordination of all concerned. Per instruction of the City Mayor, Casipong will need to have a medical treatment and will allow her to rest.”

    “This is the new protocol she has set up that a victim be made to undergo medical check up, rest and debriefing and spend time with the family. We are very thankful to the police and the military and all those who have helped and we continue to support the safety of teachers as vital tools to the education of our children particularly in island barangays,” an advisory from Zamboanga City Hall said. Al Jacinto

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