SULU Governor Abdusakur Tan disclosed that he is not lifting the state of emergency declaration in his province, which had been perturbed of kidnappings by the Abu Sayyaf bandits.

Tan explained that he did not lift the declaration citing: “the crisis is still there” since the Abu Sayyaf bandits are still on the loose.

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Tan declared the state of emergency in March 2009 after the Abu Sayyaf bandits have threatened to behead one of the three kidnapped staff of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

The ICRC staff namely Andreas Notter, 38, of Switzerland; Eugenio Vagni, 62 of Italy; and, Mary Jean Lacaba, 37 of the Philippines were kidnapped by the bandits on January 15, 2009 in the town of Patikul, Sulu.

The bandits freed Lacaba on April 2, 2009; Notter on April 18, 2009; and Vagni on July 12, 2009.

“Although the hostages have already been freed, the problem about the possible perpetration of another kidnapping is still there, so we do not want to give any opportunity to the kidnappers to perpetrate the same kind of criminality,” Tan explained.

Tan, under the state-of-emergency declaration, is empowered to arrest members of the Abu Sayyaf group as well as its supporters to ensure law and order in his province. (Bong Garcia)