MANILA, Philippines – The three mining employees who were abducted by rebel soldiers of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Agusan del Sur last Thursday have been released, authorities said.
The Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) said the three employees of VTO Mining Enterprise, identified as Christopher Ocite, Gani Altaya and Joel Hayuma, were released at around 6 p.m. on Saturday.
PSWDO official Joseifa Bajade said no ransom money was paid in exchange for their release.
Bajade said the rebels only demanded for food.
Authorities said the case was not a kidnap-for-ransom, claiming the three were abducted because the armed men had inquiries on an unspecified matter.
One of the employees, Christopher Ocite, is the son of the mining firm’s owner Vivencio Ocite.
Ocite and the two others were forcibly taken by the armed men in the VTO mining headquarters in Ridge Mountain in Purok Onse, Bayugan Tres at around 5 a.m last Thursday.
The suspects also seized 5 shotguns and 9 caliber .45 firearms from the security guards.
They then escaped with the employees using Ocite’s vehicle. -- Report from Charmane Awitan, ABS-CBN News Caraga