ZAMBOANGA City Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar has expressed her elation over the successful escape of three Zamboangueño construction painters from their Abu Sayyaf abductors as a result of the continuous military operations in Patikul, Sulu.

Salazar’s statement came after the three dashed to freedom on Thursday afternoon and was safely recovered by the troops on Friday morning in the village of Kagay, Talipao, Sulu.

Safely recovered by joint military and police team were Jason Vailoces, Joel Adanza, and Filemon Guerrero Jr., all residents of the village of Tumaga, Zamboanga City.

“We express our gratitude to everyone responsible for the release, but I also would like to send a very strong warning to every resident of Zamboanga City to refrain from seeking job opportunities in areas not cleared by military, areas that have cost the lives of some individuals,” Salazar said.

She denied any idea about payment of ransom money or being part of the negotiating team, if there was any, but said coordination has been made with the military, police and local government unit in Sulu.

The three were among the five construction workers the Abu Sayyaf bandits have seized on on July 15 from their barracks at the provincial sports complex in the village of Bangkal, Patikul, Sulu.

One of the five identified as Jenly Miranda escaped hours after they were seized.

Miranda jumped into a cliff while they were being taken to an Abu Sayyaf camp in Patikul town.

The escape on Thursday of the three hostages has left Edmundo Ramos in captivity in the hands of the Abu Sayyaf bandits in Talipao, Sulu. (Bong Garcia/SunStar Philippines)