THE Joint Task Force Sulu has deployed troops to locate and retrieve the remains of the Filipino hostage that was beheaded by the Abu Sayyaf bandits last April 13.

Brigadier General Cirilito Sobejana, Jr., Joint Task Forces Sulu commander, said search and retrieval operations are ongoing to recover the remains of Noel Besconde.

READ: Abu Sayyaf bandits behead Filipino hostage

Besconde, the skipper of F/B Ramona, was executed by the Abu Sayyaf bandits led by Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan on Thursday, April 13, in the village of Tugas, Patikul town.

Sobejana said they received report the bandits killed Besconde since he was sick and his condition impedes the group’s movement in evading advancing government forces.

The Abu Sayyaf bandits seized Besconde and three other crew of F/B Ramona in December 2016 in the Celebes Sea.

The other hostages were identified as Reyjim Rocabo, F/B Ramona’s mechanic, and crewmen Roy Ramos and Roel Liones, all residents of Tukuran, Zamboanga del Sur.

Besconde was the second hostage the Abu Sayyaf bandits executed this year.

The first was a German national who was executed on February after the authorities did not heed to their ransom demand.

General Eduardo Año, Chief-of-Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, said on Monday, April 17, that the execution of hostages will not deter them in pursuing the Abu Sayyaf bandits.

"This terrorist group are all the more, by their recent barbarism, fueling the desire of the AFP to crush their beastly practice, stop their kidnap-for-ransom activities, and restore peace in Western Mindanao,” Año said in a statement through the Western Mindanao Command.

"We will never falter. We will not rest even a bit in our conduct of combat, intelligence, and civil-military operations to protect our people. We will exhaust all means-legal and moral--to bring this war against terrorists to conclusion,” he added. (SunStar Philippines)