ZAMBOANGA CITY: Government troops on Sunday failed to locate six forestry surveyors who were abducted in Compostela Valley province in the restive southern region of Mindanao where security forces are fighting terrorism and communist rebellion.
“Troops have returned empty handed, but the search is continuing and hopefully we could rescue them safely,” Capt. Alberto Caber, a spokesman for the Eastern Mindanao Command, told The Manila Times.
The six men, all working for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, were sent to the town of Maco to undertake a survey for the government’s forest rehabilitation project called National Greening Program when gunmen in three motorcycles seized them.
Caber identified the surveyors as Kendrik Wong, Nico Lasaca, Chris Favila, Matthew Cua, Jonas Loredo and Tim Sabina.
He said the six men were also bringing with them one unmanned aerial drone which they are using in the survey and this, too, was taken by the gang. He said no group has claimed responsibility for the abductions, but the province is a known stronghold of the communist rebel group New People’s Army, and a known lair of illegal gold miners.