ZAMBOANGA CITY: Military operations continue to rescue the other kidnap victims from the hands of the Abu Sayyaf brigands in the province of Sulu.
Lt. Gen. Rustico Guerrero, Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) chief, made this announcement after the rescue of the two Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) personnel from the hands of the Abu Sayyaf brigands.
The two PCG personnel namely, SN2 Gringo Villaruz and SN1 Rod Pagaling, were rescued Thursday at the height of the fire-fight in Barangay Buanza, Indanan, Sulu.
The Abu Sayyaf brigands kidnapped the two Coast Guard personnel together with Rodolfo Boligao last May 4 in Aliguay, an island barangay in Dapitan City.
The Abu Sayyaf brigands executed Boligao, the barangay chairman of Aliguay, last August 11.
The two Philippine coast guard men on Friday trembled and cried as they recalled their harrowing four-month captivity under Islamic extremists.
Sporting long beards, Gringo Villaruz and Rod Allain Pagaling said luck and quick wit aided their escape from Abu Sayyaf militants on the remote southern island of Jolo.
“Each day I felt like I was going to die,” Pagaling told reporters shortly after arriving in Manila, as his three-year-old daughter, Allaina, clung tightly to his shoulders.
“It was very difficult. We had nothing else to turn to except prayer.”
The men, who were abducted in May along with another hostage, were blindfolded, stripped of their shirts and made to beg for their lives on their knees as their masked captors held machetes to their necks.
A video of the desperate plea was posted on the video-sharing website YouTube as the bandits demanded an undisclosed ransom.
The decapitated remains of the other hostage, Rodolfo Boligao, were found on a dark, deserted Jolo highway last week.
The beheading prompted elite military forces to launch a risky operation to free 11 hostages held by the Al-Qaeda-linked militants — including the two coastguard officials, as well as two Malaysians, a Dutch national and a South Korean.
Meanwhile, Guerrero disclosed that they have designated troops to track down the whereabouts of a particular captive and to possibly rescue the victims.
One of the captives is Mayor Gemma Adana of Naga, Zamboanga Sibugay. She was seized last April 6 from her residence in Barangay Taytay Manubo, Naga.
Guerrero is optimistic that the continuous law enforcement operations will result to the safe recovery or rescue of the kidnap victims.