‘Sorry we tried to save him but failed’


    President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday apologized to Germany for the failure of government troops to save Jurgen Gustav Kantner, who has been beheaded by the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).

    Duterte said the Philippine government tried its best but failed to save the German hostage’s life.

    “I am very sorry that the hostage, a national of your country, has been beheaded. I sympathize with the family, I commiserate with the German people. But I said, we tried, there’s a massive operation going on and I have just announced to you, they’re beginning to use air assets,” the President said.

    “We really tried our best. We have been there, the military operation has been going on for sometime already and but we have failed and so that has to be admitted,” he added.

    The Abu Sayyaf beheaded Kantner on Sunday after the group’s demand for a P30 million ransom was ignored.

    Duterte stressed that the government is sticking to its no-ransom policy because more people will be taken hostage if ransom is paid.

    “There’s nothing wrong in admitting a failure but it’s a matter of policy that we do not surrender to the demands of paying ransom. It will just increase the numbers,” he said in a news conference.

    The Abu Sayyaf released a video of Kantner being killed by a bolo-wielding man on Monday.

    Secretary Jesus Dureza, presidential adviser on the peace process, confirmed late Monday night that the Abu Sayyaf executed Kantner.

    “We grieve as we strongly condemn the barbaric beheading of yet another kidnap victim,” Dureza said in a statement. “There must be a stop to this killing of the innocent and the helpless.”

    Duterte reiterated his order to government forces to crush the Abu Sayyaf Group.

    “It’s [Mindanao] a big place. It’s not a one-hectare island that you can really overrun. There are many places to hide. And for the first time, we are even using air assets,” the President said.

    “I have to improve on our night-flying capability. But we’re nearing that. As a matter of fact, we had an operation by air and by ground the other day in Jolo,” he said.

    The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) also on Tuesday extended its sympathies to the family of Kantner.

    “The Department of Foreign Affairs is greatly saddened by the death of Mr. Juergen Gustav Kantner. We condemn, in the strongest terms, this cruel and inhuman act by the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), and reiterate our firm resolve to oppose terrorism in all its forms. The Philippine Government will do its utmost to ensure that the perpetrators of this heinous crime are brought to justice,” the DFA said in a statement.

    “The Department of Foreign Affairs extends its deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Mr. Kantner and to the Government and the people of the Federal Republic of Germany.We stand in solidarity with Germany as it grieves for the tragic loss of one of its sons to a senseless act of violence,” it added.

    Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. who is attending a United Nations event on human rights in Geneva, also condemned the brutal killing.

    In November last year, Kantner and his partner Sabine Merz were abducted while sailing in the southern Philippine sea.



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    1. John Riingen on

      In times like this, it’s good to remember Newton’s Law of Motion: In the Philippine context, every action there is an equal, if not more, violent reaction. It’s sad but that’s the reality.

    2. dating sakristan on

      Instead of making ROTC a mandatory subject for 11 and 12 grades, why not increase the IQ levels on AFP recruits? Combat is like playing chess game that requires thinking, and soldiers in combat zone always want to survive, and the only way to survive is to be technically and tactically proficient. Training, ability to think, and control of fear are important factors in combat environment. Luck and prayers only play a very small part of survival when bullets are flying all over the place. An inquisitive General should visit the JUSMAG and inquire how to upgrade the training of AFP combat elements, how to formulate realistic combat training, what kind of support and equipment are needed in a thick vegetated areas. There are hundreds of process and procedures that soldiers can be trained on, and this will in turn make them proficient and win in combat.

    3. Catherine, being sorry is not enough. To the Canadian families who had their loved ones beheaded months ago and now the German citizen, those words are hollow in the midst of their anguish and pain. What is important is what is he going to do about it? there are still close to 30 hostages left and the Abu seemed undeterred or unimpeded in their criminal acts. The Philippine navy is ill-equipped to handle the situation. Somalia despite the vast Indian ocean solved its piracy with a multi national help. That is the reality.

    4. Well ph is really incapable of eradicating this terrorists. If the rummors are true that the terrorist is backed and funded by a foreign terrorist then its gonna be more difficult for the government to retaliate them. I think airstrike is only the solution to end them.

    5. Ikaw, Tatay Digong, kahit anong ganda ang plano mo kung bobo naman mga sundalo mo. Go look for the best and brightest and i strongly believe they are not a graduate of that filthy military academy of yours. Select the best from the lowest to the highest rank, Forn a brigadde, trained them and send them to Miondanao. A proper coordination of intelligence, artillery, air, naval and infantry. Form a new brigade secretly loyalty to the country is a must.

    6. Its easier said than done, for over the years our government exerted efforts to eradicate terrorism activities specially in Mindanao, all over the world terrorism is also felt. The people behind these has different fundamentals, values and intentions, I think our government needs to revisit the root cause of this problem. Developing and improving the living and economic condition of said area should be the primary goal with the sense of urgency.

    7. Dapat martial law sa mga lugar na yan. Ang kaso you listen too much to misuari, so di nyo magagapi ang mga bandidong tausugs mr mayor.

    8. What hasn’t the government failed at ?

      Grid lock in Manila
      Expensive electric power poor service
      Expensive and slow internet

      No charges for most of the congressional Pork barrel thieves
      DAP fund
      SAF 44 massacre
      Maguindanao massacre
      Election tampering
      Yolanda fund
      Anti Dynasty bill

      The government exists only to provide money and privilege to themselves

      Seems all congress does is conduct investigations, coverup scandals and pay themselves huge salaries to accomplishing nothing.

    9. The Great Defiant on

      Mr. President,

      No doubt, we consider them as our brother, muslim brother.
      and no doubt too, that they are pestering this planet killing themselves, Christians, women. children for a long, long time.

      The Americans did it before, why can’t we use same idea to end their demonic activity in Mindanao.

      In the movie underworlds, the wolves were able to develop a bullet embedded with UV to kill the vampires. In turn, the vampires develop a bullet with quicksilver (mercury) on it to kill the wolves.

      Then, in the same way, perhaps we can develop a bullet with pigs blood on it to scare the heck out of these darn terrorist?

      or just simply ordered our troops to dip their guns in a pale of pigs blood before shooting the rascals?

      And convert their camps into a piggery farm so they would to comeback to claim it.
      I assure you Mr. president, they will be gone in a weeks time.

    10. “There must be a stop to this killing of the innocent and the helpless.”

      This has been going on for years and the government has proven that they can’t put a stop to it.

      The only solution is for tourists to stop going anywhere near the Philippines and visit other countries instead.

    11. PinPin de Sarapin on

      We are all sorry for Kantner’s life that can not be restored back to its joy in his family and friends, because of the government inability to defeat the ASG. Philippine government is losing its focus in reestablishing peace and order in Mindanao areas. The efforts to defeat terrorism is I guess somehow just a simple make-over and make-up, a little of cosmetics that our government is putting into it. I wonder if the move to develop Mindanao would be possible with the terrorism that is surrounding the Land of Mindanao and its huge marine areas. Terrorism should be defeated there if we want development and progress in the life of the people. I myself don’t have any dream to see Mindanao with that kind of fear and terror all over the place of Mindanao. How could you develop that, Mr. DU30?