The local government of Dipolog City offered a P100,000 reward for information that may lead to the whereabouts of Italian businessman Rolando del Torchio, who was kidnapped by unidentified men on Wednesday, a Philippine National Police (PNP) official said on Friday.
Chief Supt. Wilben Mayor, PNP spokesperson, said the information can be relayed through 09053321952.
Mayor said pursuit operations continue, particularly on two suspects who evaded security forces on Thursday.
The two were identified through a CCTV video.
Meanwhile, Dipolog Bishop Severo Caermare urged the faithful to pray for the safety and immediate release of del Torchio, a former priest and member of Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME).
“I humbly ask everyone to please pray and collaborate for his safety and immediate release,” he said in a statement.
The prelate lauded the efforts of authorities to track down the kidnappers.
“I’m the Bishop of Dipolog, [I] appreciate the efforts done by the local government, police and military,” he said.
Del Torchio, 56, was abducted at his pizza restaurant, “Ur Choice Café” inside the Andres Bonifacio College Compound in Dipolog City on October 7.
According to witnesses, four of these kidnappers posed as customers and, as seen on CCTV, another six came in and later forced del Torchio to go with them. They dragged him to a van and sped toward the coastal barangay of Miputak, in Manukan town, where they boarded two pump boats and disappeared.
The vehicle was later found near the shoreline.
A PIME priest said that the abduction should not be linked to the conflict in Mindanao between Islamic separatist groups in Mindanao and the government.
“We cannot say that it was made to boycott or to undermine the agreements reached. Also because in Dipolog [place of abduction ed]there are no conflicts between Christians and Muslims. It is more likely that the reason is not political, but economic, for a ransom,” said Fr. Giovanni Re, PIME regional superior in the Philippines in a statement.