Group lists 56 kidnappings from Jan-June

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 19 2010 04:33 PM | Updated as of Jul 20 2010 12:33 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The Movement for Restoration of Peace and Order on Monday said it recorded 56 kidnap-for-ransom cases in the first six months of 2010, which is 4 times higher than the 12 cases recorded by the Police Anti-Crime and Emergency Response (PACER) during the same period.

Anti-crime advocate Teresita Ang-See said the 56 cases involved 73 kidnap victims, with the largest number coming from Mindanao. She said most kidnap victims are hesitant to approach PACER because of lack of trust in its leadership.

She said one family just recently paid P1 million in ransom last Friday, a day after PACER celebrated its 8th anniversary. She said the kidnap victim, a businessman, was released on Monday.

PACER earlier said it neutralized 84 kidnap-for ransom suspects over the past 12 months, including 44 who were killed in armed encounters with the police.

A study by risk consultancy firm Pacific Strategies & Assessments (PSA) earlier said kidnappings in the Philippines reached a record total of 135 reported cases in 2008, the highest in a 12-year period.

The PSA Philippines Kidnapping Report 2008 showed that the total number of kidnap-for-ransom cases rose 25 percent from 102 reported cases in 2007 to 135 cases in 2008. It noted that since the vast majority of kidnap-for-ransom cases are not reported to government authorities or the media, the actual number of incidents is believed to be significantly higher.

Of the 135 reported KFR cases, more than half (74) were at the hands of known kidnap syndicates. Filipino victims accounted for 76 percent of all reported cases while Chinese-Filipinos accounted for a mere four percent.    

Majority of targets are middle to upper class Filipinos and Filipino Chinese that operate small businesses. The study also noted that the wealthiest Filipino families are rarely targeted due to political connections and perceived influence.

The study said endemic corruption at all levels of government coupled with weak rule of law and inept law enforcement contribute to the rise in KFR activities in the country.