16 teachers, students held hostage in Agusan del Sur

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 02 2011 09:30 AM | Updated as of Apr 03 2011 08:21 PM

Hostage-takers demand release of Ondo Perez, 3 other group members


 
MANILA, Philippines (5th UPDATE) – Suspected members of the Perez kidnap group are holding 16 people, including 2 children, hostage in Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur.
 
Police said the group demanded the release of Ondo Perez and 3 others who are now detained at the Agusan del Sur Provincial Jail for hostage-taking charges last December 2009.
 
“What we are trying to make sure is the safety of the hostages,” said Prosperidad Mayor Albin Magdamit.
 
Police Regional Office XIII earlier identified 14 of the hostages as
  1. District Supervisor Narciso Oliveros
  2. Division Superintendent Hipolito Lastimado
  3. Principal Apolonio Alibangbang
  4. Property Custodian Joel Sausa
  5. Manuel Mordeno (teacher)
  6. Filipina Quitoy (teacher)
  7. Allan Gallano (teacher)
  8. Diosdado Cabantac (teacher)
  9. Mary Jean Bedrijo (volunteer teacher)
  10. Arnold Quitoy (civilian)
  11. Pido Dolorito (civilian)
  12. Gerlie Monticalbo (civilian)
  13. Maricel Lagnazon (civilian)
  14. Shen-shen Cabagtag (civilian)
  15. (student)
  16. (student)
 
The victims came from a graduation ceremony and were abducted at around 4 p.m. Friday at Sitio Gacub, Barangay La Purisima in Prosperidad, according to Magdamit who is leading the crisis management team.
 
“The hostages came from a graduation. Mayroon po kasing series of graduations and if I'm not mistaken they were attending 3 graduations. Pag-uwi hinarang po sila ng hostage takers. Doon nangyari 'yung hostage taking,” said Magdamit. 
 
Magdamit said they are communicating with the hostage takers. “We are still now in the process of negotiating with the hostage-takers. We have a good communication between the committee and also the hostage-takers.” 
 
Although tired and hungry, Magdamit said the hostages are all in good condition.
 
The hostage-takers also asked for food. 
 
Hostage-takers
 
The same group held hostage 79 residents of a community in Maitum, Prosperidad in December 2009.
 
Magdamit said he told the hostage-takers of the 16 victims that his committee has no authority to give in to the demand for the release of Ondo Perez and 3 others. 
 
“Sabi ko na kailangan nila ng court order para mai-release kasi nga may kaso," he said.
 
Senior Superintendent Jerome Baxinela, Provincial Director of Agusan del Sur Provincial Police Office, has established an advanced command post at Barangay Sta. Irene in Prosperidad.
 
Personnel from the 13th Regional Public Safety Battalion were likewise deployed to augment police in ensuring security in the area.
 
“We are trying to work with what is within the bounds of law. We have been exhausting all measures hopefully that we could be able to resolve the crisis the soonest without fatality,” he said.
 
The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) has called on President Aquino to resolve the incident the soonest. 
 
"Teachers and school officials should not be targeted for this kind of violence,” Felipe Degamo, TDC  vice chairman for Mindanao, said in a statement Saturday. Reports from May Diez, ABS-CBN Surigao and Arnell Ozaeta, radio dzMM, and Charmane Awitan, ABS-CBN Butuan, and ANC