Quote for the Week..

"Why are the country’s political leaders quick to act on amending the Constitution to change nationalistic provisions for the benefit of foreigners or to extend their terms of office but are allergic to amending the Constitution to address the people’s aspirations for self-determination?" - Marvic Leonen,Dean of the UP College of Law, in a keynote address delivered at the 1st International Solidarity Conference on Mindanao; March 16-18, 2009 in Davao City, Philippines.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Basilan kidnappers threaten to cut finger of captive aid worker

Kidnappers holding two aid workers in Basilan have threatened to inflict physical injury to one of their captives if ransom would not be paid within the day, a peace advocate in Zamboanga said Wednesday.

Fr. Angel Calvo said the kidnappers has threatened to cut the finger of non-government organization worker, Esperancita Hupida if ransom will not be paid within this day.

Hupida and Milet Mendoza, workers of Nagdilaab Foundation Incorporated which caters to social and educational works in far-flung areas in Basilan, remain in the hands of their captors for more than a month now.

Calvo said the kidnappers directly contacted Hupida's husband Tuesday night and reiterated their demand for P5 million in exchange for Hupida's freedom.

Calvo said however that the Hupida’s family is not financially incapable of meeting the demand of the kidnappers.

He said they are not sure if the kidnappers would extend the ultimatum for a few days, since they are quite serious in cutting off the finger of Hupida if their demand was not met.

Calvo appealed for help in rescuing the two NGO workers and insisted that the case is not an isolated one. He said that the abductions keeps repeating in the province of basilan.

The priest said he believes Basilan’s provincial government should now come into the picture and try to control the local lawless group who have been victimizing innocent and cause-oriented groups in the province.

He said however that military operations should always be the last option that could be considered by the family and putting the security of the captives should be the priority.

Amidst the crisis, the Bishop-Ulama council, police, military and some NGOs in Zamboanga organized a peace forum to discuss important issues affecting the peace and order situation in Mindanao.

Calvo said however that the conduct of a peace forum would not be enough to resolve the crisis in Basilan. Instead, he said, a realistic approach or action must be planed out to eventually rescue the two NGO workers. (By RJ ROSALADO, ABS-CBN Zamboanga)

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