Abu Sayyaf frees Filipina abducted in Samal

(UPDATED) -- Lone Filipina Marites Flor, who was among the four victims abducted from the Island Garden City of Samal, was freed by the Abu Sayaff on Friday morning, June 24, in Jolo, Sulu after nine months of captivity.

This was confirmed by incoming Presidential peace adviser Jesus "Jess" Dureza.

"It is actually Sulu Vice Governor Abdusakur Tan who negotiated with the Abu Sayyaf," Dureza told reporters in an interview at the sidelines of the change of command ceremony held at the Davao City Police Office (DCPO) on Friday afternoon.




Dureza said he was not able to meet the Abu Sayyaf members instead it was Governor Tan who personally welcomed Flor.


Dureza said the release of Flor was a "gesture of good will" from the Abu Sayyaf group.

"Tan said it was an act of good will from the bandits. They know that president-elect Rody Duterte wanted their release badly," Dureza said.

Dureza, however, reiterated that there was no ransom money paid by the government to the Abu Sayyaf in exchange for her safe release.

Flor, who was escorted by Dureza and Tan during the change of command where Senior Superintendent Michael John Dubria formally replaced Senior Superintendent Vicente Danao Jr. as DCPO director, recalled the horrible experiences that she had along with the three foreign nationals.

Flor shared they were sleeping with handcuffs and chains on their hands and feet.

"Kanina (early June 24), ginising nila ako, sinabihan nila ako na ihahatid na raw nila ako," she said in between sobs, also recalling how her other colleagues were awakened at dawn to have their heads cut.

She confessed that she was beaten up by the bandits and they were "treated like dogs".

"Maraming beses kaming nagpalipat-lipat, hindi namin alam kung saan. Naglalakad lang kami," she added.

At around 12:45 p.m., on Friday, Dureza, Tan and Flor left Jolo Airport aboard a private plane for Davao City.

Flor was presented to outgoing Davao City Mayor and President-elect Rodrigo Duterte.

On June 13, Canadian hostage Robert Hall's head was found in front of a cathedral in Jolo, Sulu.

On April 25, Canadian John Ridsdel's head was thrown by the bandits in Jolo town, Sulu while his body was recovered two days after in the same town.

Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad is the last kidnap victim from Igacos who is still with the Abu Sayyaf.

Dureza said that they are working for his release.

But Flor added the group is interested with the P300 million ransom money.

Duterte said, "There will be a time when I will have to confront the ASG. It is not yet forthcoming. But the kidnappings have to stop."

Duterte was meeting Norwegian ambassadors to discuss plans on rescuing Sekkingstad as of Friday.

Outgoing Communications secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) would still exert all efforts to save Sekkingstad.

"AFP continues to pursue ASG bandits until all captives are freed or rescued safely," Coloma said in a statement.

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