JOINT Navy and Marine forces have successfully rescued five workers of a Pagadian City-based fishing firm abducted by the Abu Sayyaf bandits last month in the province of Sulu, military officials announced on Monday, November 20.
Brigadier General Custodio Parcon, Joint Task Force Tawi-Tawi commander, identified those rescued as follows: Vergel Arquino, 25; Jushua Ybanez, 23; Emo Fausto, 63; Junald Minalang, 24; and, Spriano Sordido, 53, all crewmen of F/B Danvil 8 owned by Danvil Yanoc of Pagadian City.
All except Arquino, who is from Davao City, are residents of Pagadian City, the capital of Zamboanga del Sur.
Parcon said they were rescued around 1:30 p.m., Friday, November 17, off Sugbay Island, Languyan, Tawi-Tawi.
However, the rescue of the five crewmen was only made public on Monday, November 20, when they were presented to newsmen at the headquarters of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao (NFWM) in Zamboanga City.
Parcon said they grabbed the opportunity to rescue the victims after learning the Abu Sayyaf captors were confused and on the run brought about by the continuous focus military operations against them in the province of Tawi-Tawi.
“The successful rescue was made possible due to the loose focus of the captors,” Parcon said.
“The timing was critical since the captors may shoot the victims if they will know about the plan,” Read Admiral Rene Medina, NFWM commander, said.
The rescued fishing boat crew have undergone medical examination upon arrival at the NFWM headquarters.
The Abu Sayyaf bandits seized them on October 14 when they sought shelter in coast of the village of Simbahan, Pangutaran, Sulu due to inclement weather condition.
The rescue of the five crewmen have brought down the 17 the number of hostages in the hands of the Abu Sayyaf bandits.
Of the total, seven are foreigners -- five Indonesians, one Vietnamese and one Dutch -- and 10 Filipinos. (SunStar Philippines)