MANILA, Philippines — The Armed Forces of the Philippines on Wednesday reiterated its strict compliance with the government’s ‘no ransom policy’ while assuring the mobilization of all resources to resolve the kidnapping incident which involved 10 Indonesian sailors off the coast of Tawi-Tawi.
This was stressed by AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla.
“The CSAFP (Chief-of-Staff AFP, Gen. Hernando DCA Iriberri) during his visit to the WMC (Western Mindanao Command in Zamboanga City) yesterday reiterated AFP’s strict compliance to the government’s ‘no ransom policy’,” he added.
Padilla pointed out the rationale behind the measure, noting that activities of kidnapping groups will persist if they continue to acquire ransom money from their victims.
“If we are to end kidnapping-for-ransom (KFR) activities, we must deny these groups from achieving or getting their primary motive. The AFP will take strong action to discourage and will report monitored incidents of negotiations,” the military official stressed.
Regarding the identity of the kidnappers of the Indonesian sailors, Padilla said they are still to establish this with certainty.
“Although certain information received indicated that this is again a handiwork of the ASG (Abu Sayyaf Group) the AFP and all other government agencies in the province must first work to check, authenticate & validate these information to ascertain credibility before any confirmation can be done,” he added.
However, Padilla said that the kidnapping of the Indonesians over the weekend could have been conducted by groups sympathetic to the ASG bandits as the latter have been hard hit by government security forces in Basilan and Jolo for the past weeks.
“We see that the mounting pressure on the targeted groups in these areas may have compelled some of their sympathetic allies to initiate diversionary tactics to ease the pressure on their besieged forces. This may indicate that our forces are correctly pursuing core groups holding key hostages held by these KFR (kidnap-for-ransom) groups,” he added.
Despite this, focused military operations will continue against the bandit group. Priam Nepomuceno/PNA/northboundasia.com