THE family of a Cebuano seaman kidnapped allegedly by the Abu Sayyaf from a South Korean vessel in Tawi-Tawi asked President Rodrigo Duterte for his safe release.
They were informed that 10 armed men kidnapped Glenn Alindajao, 30, a master mariner, and the Korean captain of the Dongbang Giant 2 ship last Thursday.
As this developed, top police officials assured that they were verifying a report that six members of the Abu Sayyaf were sighted in Cebu last Friday, and that there is no reason to panic.
There is no need to declare a heightened alert, since the state of national emergency declared after the explosions in Davao City’s night market last Sept. 2 remains in effect.
“Mr. President, ang akong panawagan nimo nga imo ming tabangan kay kung kami-kami lang, di ni namo makaya sa grabe nga challenges sa among kinabuhi karon. Bug-at na kaayo’s tanan ba (Mr. President, I appeal for your help because we can’t do this on our own. This is too much for us),” Pablita Alindajao, Glenn’s mother, said in a TV Patrol report.
Pablita said that an hour before the kidnapping, her son texted her to ask if she was okay.
“Buotan kaayo nga bata si Glenn, nakatext pa siya nga ‘Mama lablab Mama’. Isip inahan, sakit kaayo (He’s a good son, Glenn is. He texted me ‘Mama lablab Mama.’ As his mother, this pains me so much),” she said in the television report.
The Alindajao family hails from Barangay Lahug in Cebu City.
The ship where Glenn worked was on its way to South Korea from Australia when an Abu Sayyaf squad allegedly boarded it.
The latest development that the Alindajao family received from Glenn’s agency was that the ship had reached Manila but the information was limited.
Joe, Glenn’s father, said he hoped that his son won’t resist in any way.
“Ang ako lang ampo nga dili lang siya mosukol kay lisod na kaayo, daghan ra ba na sila na puro armado (I only pray that he won’t resist because he’ll be overpowered. There are many of them and all armed),” Joe said.
The Abu Sayyaf broke away from the Moro National Liberation Front more than two decades ago and is active mainly in Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi. Its kidnapping, extortion and other terrorist activities are supposedly part of a larger campaign for an independent Islamic state in parts of Mindanao.
Meanwhile, Cebu City Police Director Joel Doria advised the public to refrain from panicking.
“Wala tayong dapat ipag-alala, hindi tayo dapat maalarma kasi nandiyan naman ang ating kapulisan, nakaalerto palagi (We have nothing to worry about, let’s not get alarmed because our police is always alert),” he said.
Doria said that the police have coordinated with malls and other public establishments for surveillance. Checkpoints are also being conducted on some roads and intersections in the city.
“I assure you that we are safe. Hindi dapat mag-alala ang kababayan natin dito sa Cebu (Cebuanos should not worry),” Doria said.
Pictures of alleged Abu Sayyaf sub-commander AlHabsi Misaya are also being disseminated to different police stations.
Doria emphasized there was no confirmation that elements of the separatist group are indeed in Cebu City.
Last Sept. 2, 15 persons were killed and 70 others were wounded during an explosion in a Davao City night market.
Police arrested three suspects who were suspected terrorists and members of the Maute Group, allegedly under the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and aligned with the Abu Sayyaf group, which Duterte has promised to crush.
In a separate interview, Regional Intelligence Division (RID) 7 Chief Senior Supt. Julian Entoma said they are coordinating with other police units to monitor their jurisdictions.
The official said they received information that the militants arrived last Friday, but left the province two days later.
“Ang among duda ani kidnapping ang ilang pinaka target, posibleng foreigner o prominent personalities. Mao nang alerto ang Negros Oriental kay daghan tourist ug diri sa Cebu (We suspect they may be planning a kidnapping, possibly of a foreigner or a prominent personality. Negros Oriental is on heightened alert because it has many tourists. So is Cebu),” Entoma told reporters yesterday.
Another police official, not from PRO 7, said the reports about the group are still unverified.
The Central Command (Centcom) and police asked the public to stay calm, saying they are doing their job to secure the region.
Lt. Col. Luzmindo Mamuag, Centcom information officer, urged the public to be vigilant and report to authorities any suspicious-looking persons.
“We immediately heightened our alert status and directed operating units to intensify security operations over the weekend, while in the process of validating the report,” Mamuag told Sun.Star Cebu.
The Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 was informed by their counterparts at PRO 9 about a group that left Dapitan City, Zamboanga del Norte.
The bandits reportedly boarded a boat bound for Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental before traveling to Cebu City.
“The Muslim communities here are very supportive (of law enforcement operations),” said Entoma.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 25, 2016.
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