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.


Friday, February 20, 2009

Local execs told to join rescue efforts

The provincial government of Basilan has directed all town executives to help in search and rescue operation for a kidnapped Sri Lankan humanitarian worker and five other hostages.

Municipal officials were ordered by Governor Jum Akbar during a meeting of the province’s crisis management committee to help locate and rescue Sri Lankan Umar Jaleel, who is involved in peace advocacy in the province; a nine-year-old boy kidnapped in Lamitan City; Leah Patriz, a microfinance collector; and Zamboanga City-based teachers Janette delos Reyes, Freires Quizon and Rafael Mayonado, who are believed to have been brought to the province by their abductors.

Commander Alexander Pama, chief of the Joint Task Force Trillium and of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao, said Jaleel and his captors were sighted in Kapatagan area late Saturday night.

Kapatagan is a village in Isabela City that links the towns of Maluso and Lantawan.

While declining to identify which group was holding Jaleel, Pama said it had a record of past kidnappings.

Senior Superintendent Salik Macapantar, Basilan police director, said the municipal officials and civilian volunteers have joined police rescue operation.

Pama said the kidnappers had not established any communication with Jaleel's organization, the Nonviolent Peaceforce, as of Sunday.

Norgianna Suleik of the Nonviolent Peaceforce said their office has been coordinating with authorities since the abduction on February 13.

Meanwhile, Anak Mindanao Representative Mujiv Hataman, a native of Basilan, said he had passed a resolution in Congress calling for an inquiry into the rise of kidnapping cases in Basilan, Zamboanga City and Sulu.(By Julie Alipala)

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