THE local crisis management committee in Zamboanga City will stick to the government's "no-ransom" policy in dealing with the kidnappers of businessman Vicente Barrios.

This was reiterated by Mayor Celso Lobregat, who chairs the crisis committee, as the kidnappers of the Barrios have reportedly made demands for ransom payment in exchange for the release of the hostage.

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Lobregat, however, did not further discussed details surrounding the kidnapping of the 60-year-old Barrios, who was kidnapped by gunmen believed to be Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels last June 17 off shore east of Zamboanga City.

Lobregat said paying ransom will encourage more kidnapping incidents in the southern port city.

Barrios manages the fish cages of the Dragon Marine Products in Bisaya-Bisaya Island, which is part of the 11 groups of Islands east of this city.

He was traveling along with a companion to mainland Zamboanga City via Bolong village, 33 kilometers east of this city, when the gunmen seized him.

Barrios's companion, Raing Haruddin, 45, has managed to escape.

Lobregat refused to confirm whether Barrios was taken to the nearby province of Basilan.

Barrios was the second to be kidnapped in the city this year.

The first was Charlie Rieth, 71, a Swiss-born Filipino, who was kidnapped last April 4 in the village of Patalon, 31 kilometers west of this city.

Barrios was kidnapped a day after Rieth was rescued last June 16. (Bong Garcia)