MANILA, Philippines - Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo said negotiations are ongoing for the release of Jordanian journalist Baker Atyani and his two Filipino cameramen.
The three have been reported missing in Sulu since June 12.
Amid reports the three are being held captive by the Abu Sayyaf, Robredo said Atyani's team is safe.
Robredo is standing pat on his claim that the three have been kidnapped, contrary to what has been announced by the police and military.
“While I cannot give you the details, there are ongoing negotiations…hindi kami nagbibigay ng timetable. When you set deadlines, you become less prudent, less patient. So we're saying we'll be very, very patient, it is our prime interest…that they will be safe.”
He also told ANC that one of Atyani's Filipino cameramen told his wife in a text message that they wanted to go home but are being held against their will.
The cameraman has supposedly sought the help of his production company but no mention was made of any ransom demand.
As for Atyani, Robredo said they have yet to contact his family.
He again insisted that Atyani and his crew would not be in danger had they cooperated with authorities.
“All of these happened because of security lapses…[The government provides] security but when people ignore these arrangements, there was this opportunity. If only everyone in that area would cooperate with authorities, they should be safe,” he said.
He also said an Indian national is also being held by the same Abu Sayyaf group holding Atyani and his crew, while others foreign captives are in the custody of other bandit groups.