More Mindanao Kidnappings

Once again there have been kidnappings and once again it is Mindanao.   Three teachers on their way via boat to Zamboanga City were captured and Mindanao and Zambongaheld for P6 million in ransom on January 23, 2009.

The families have been warned by the kidnappers to take the ransom demand seriously or the teachers will be killed.  The teachers are poor and their families do not have P6 million.  Government officials are sticking with the no ransom payments policy.

Teachers in the area are refusing to return to work due to their concerns about their safety.   Pedro Melchor Natividad, assistant district supervisor stated that he respects the teachers decision not to work, leaving the district with no choice but to suspend classes.  This affects about 70o students in Landang Gua.

From what I understand, teachers in the Philippines generally make less than $200 a month.  I wonder if the kidnappers ever hoped to be paid.  It looks more like an attempt to bring attention to themselves

I don’t know which group is responsible for this or if any group has claimed responsibility.  Officials have been negotiating for the release of the teachers so it seems the responsible group would be known.  In some cases, groups claim to be a part of the Moro Islamic Liberation Foundation but that group publicly disavows terrorism, including kidnapping.

Earlier this month, several Red Cross employees were kidnapped.   There have been several other instances where aid workers have been kidnapped in Mindanao.  The kidnapping of these poorer Filipino is troubling.  It may signal the willingness to kidnap those that cannot meet ransom demands.  That would put the average Filipino and expat in a more risky position.

I’m certain the government of the Philippines is working to put an end to “kidnapping gangs” through out the country.   Much progress has been made in the northern part of the country so I have hope that the southern area can also be made safer.

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Filed under: Trouble In Mindanao

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