EFFORTS to secure the safe recovery of Vicente Barrios, a fish farm caretaker who was seized off the waters in Bolong in Zamboanga City on June 17, remain unabated, a top local official said Monday.

Mayor Celso Lobregat, chairman of the local crisis management committee working on the safe release of Barrios, said the law enforcement authorities are persistent in their efforts to recover Barrios without any condition.

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Lobregat, however, declined to give further details about the ongoing operations based on the request of Barrios's family.

Lobregat hinted though that crisis committee has contacts with the abductors and the victim and that effort is being done to resolve the crisis the soonest possible time.

He said the safety of the victim is the primary concern in the operation.

"The family is very distraught," Lobregat said as he appealed to media for understanding.

He said the victim's family has earnestly requested that details and updates about Barrios' abduction be kept away from media scrutiny for various reasons.

Lobregat said the "no-ransom" policy of the government remains in effect. "We have advised the family of the no ransom policy," he said.

Barrios's abduction is one of the issues specified in Lobregat's inaugural speech after he took his oath of office on June 30.

Lobregat said that the city is presently confronted with new challenges such as the kidnapping cases and the spate of shooting incidents in some areas in this city "all caused by modern day tyrants who continue to inflict harm on innocent civilians and victims."

The mayor said the civilian community has the responsibility and obligation to help do their share in anti-crime efforts as he called on the law enforcers to exert extra efforts to resolve the crime incidents. (Bong Garcia)