Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Ces Drilon, cameraman released by Abu Sayyaf

The release early this morning of ABS CBN reporter Ces Drilon and her cameraman Jimmy Encarnacion as well as Professor Octavio Dimampo was a relief not only to their families but to the Philippine media practitioners as well. Angelo Valderama was released ahead of them several days ago.

Indanan Mayor Alavarez Isnaji's son Jun said nothing was given to the kidnappers except the promise of livelihood projects for their families and the community. The kidnappers earlier asked for a P15 million ransom and even indicated a deadline yesterday morning.

This was not the first time that a member of the 4th Estate was kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf bandits but this was nevertheless a case in point to show the world why the government could not stifle a small bandits group hiding in a small area like Zamboanga. A lot of people are wondering why the Abu Sayyaf still exists even after the kidnapping and the death of some foreigners who were kidnapped in Patikul, Sulu several years ago. Even the US military was not able to do anything about the Abu Sayyaf despite rumors that they would be hunting down the bandits group. Funny because they were able to get the suspected target of a bombing incident in Davao City right under the nose of Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

This incident has one again highlighted how dangerous the job of journalists are. Most journalist, especially those in the provinces (including Davao City) do not have insurance coverage and I wonder if the same earnestness to have the kidnap victims released would be shown had it been a member of the provincial media who was kidnapped and not the high profile media personalities like Drilon etal.

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