Gov’t no-ransom policy stays in Sulu kidnapping

MANILA The government is maintaining its no-ransom policy despite reports claiming that the kidnappers of the two policewomen in Sulu are willing to release the victims in exchange for a PHP5-million ransom, a military official said Thursday.

In an interview, Joint Task Force Sulu commander, Brig. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, said that while they understand the families' concern for the safe return of their loved ones, giving in to ransom demands will only convince lawless elements that kidnapping is a lucrative criminal venture.

The money will allow the bandits to acquire new weapons and gain more supporters, Sobejana said.

"Kami naman mananatili kami sa aming posisyon na no-ransom policy, kasi nga the more we give ransom, the more na magkaroon ng kidnapping. Kasi nagiging lucrative venture ang kidnapping dito kung may magbabayad kaagad (We in the military stand pat on our position on the no-ransom policy because if we give ransom, more kidnapping incidents would occur. It will become a lucrative venture when ransom is readily given)," he said.

He added that the military is doing everything to safely rescue the kidnapped policewomen.

PO2 Benierose Alvarez and PO1 Dinah Gumahad, along with two civilians, Jakosalem Ahamad Blas and Faizal Ahidji, were on board a tricycle outside Camp Bautista near the Jolo Airport when they were taken forcibly by armed men last Sunday.

Alvarez is detailed with the PNP-Crime Laboratory. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency