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06 April 2011

DILG Sec. Robredo orders manhunt for hostage-takers in Prosperidad

AGUSAN SEL SUR, PHILIPPINES - DECEMBER 13:  Ph...Image by Getty Images
An April 6, 2011 press release by the Department of the Interior and Local Government
Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse M. Robredo today commended the local crisis management committee in Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur for their good negotiation job that led to the successful resolution of the local hostage situation.
The DILG chief also directed the Philippine National Police to coordinate with the Armed Forces of the Philippines in the manhunt operations to capture the the hostage takers who are followers of former militiaman Ondo Perez who was charged and detained for similar acts a few years ago.
“Ngayong napalaya na ang mga hostages, ang magiging fokus naman natin ay ang pagtugis sa mga nanghostage,” he said.
Robredo said that the local CMC headed by Prosperidad Mayor Albin Magdamit ‘fared very well” in negotiating with the hostage-takers since day one and in eventually securing the release of the twelve remaining hostage victims.
The hostages were “abandoned” at around 6:00AM Wednesday with no ransom and ‘board and lodging’ paid for their freedom, and were eventually brought by policemen who fetched them to the provincial capitol after 9:00AM.
“Malaki ang naging papel ng local CMC sa mapayapang pagpapalaya ng mga hostages dahil matiyaga silang nakinig at nakipagdayalogo sa mga suspects,” said the DILG Secretary, who had to cancel an official trip abroad to personally monitor and oversee the hostage negotiations in the province upon the instructions of President Aquino.
Last April 1, a group of armed tribesmen abducted at least 15 people, including teachers and elementary students who attended a graduation ceremony, in Prosperidad town in Agusan del Sur to demand the release of Ondo Perez.
The hostage-takers have been identified as Ken-Ken Perez; Reyjoy Brital, leader of the group; Rolando Perez; Alejandro Navarro Brital; and Allan Perez.
Ken-Ken is the nephew of Ondo, who was involved in a similar hostage-taking incident in 2009.
On Sunday, two hostages were freed to get food for the other victims. A third victim, a male teenager, was released Monday.
In his directive to PNP chief Director General Raul Bacalzo, who was also in Agusan del Sur, Robredo ordered the mobilization of the local PNP regional and field units and coordination with the AFP to bring the hostage-takers behind bars.
“We are also appealing to the public to immediately report to police authorities or to their local officials if they have spotted Brital’s group in their area,” he said.