News Update: 2 Agusan del Sur hostages released with conditions

AGUSAN DEL SUR PHILIPPINES - DECEMBER 13: Fili...Image by Getty Images 
PROSPERIDAD, Agusan del Sur, April 3 (PNA) -- Two local Department of Education (DepEd) officials were “released conditionally” by their captors Sunday afternoon to get food, water and medicines for the remaining hostage victims in the mountains of Barangay La Purisima in this town.


Chief Supt. Reynaldo S. Rafal, Caraga-Philippine National Police regional director, confirmed that Agusan del Sur Schools Supervisor Hipolito Lastimado and District-in-Charge Diosdede Cabantac were released at past 3:30 p.m. Sunday after one of the hostage victims, a 10-year-old pupil, fell ill and needed immediate medicines, water and food.


Lastimado and Cabantac told Rafal they were freed on conditions that they must come back and, in their return, bring along with them food, potable water and medicines.


In the December 2009 hostage-taking incident, some of the 79 hostages were also released to get food, water and medicines, but they never returned. The food, water and medicines they were supposed to bring back were just given by another group of persons.


Earlier, there were problems on provision of food and the hostage victims were complaining about scarcity of food provision for them from the “outside.”


Families of some of the victims said their relatives were informing them through text messages that “there are no food, water and medicine" provided by the government negotiators. Some observers believed this could be one of the tactics employed by the government negotiators to force the hostage takers to release their victims.


Lastimado and Cabantac were immediately taken to the Crisis Committee Base at the municipal hall here.
It is not known whether they will be allowed to go back to their colleagues who are now in the hands of their hostage takers holed up at the hinterland portion of Purok 6 in Barangay La Purisima and badly in need of medicines, food and potable water. (PNA) scs/Ben Serrano/rsm