May 25, 2001, Philippine Headline News / Today, Abu Sayyaf Attacks 5-Star Davao Resort
Davao City, May 24, 2001 - Speedboat-riding gunmen, believed to be Abu Sayyaf bandits, attacked at around Tuesday midnight the upscale Pearl Farm Beach Resort in barangay Adecor on Samal Island in Davao Gulf just off Davao City, killing two people and wounding three others, according to a military report released yesterday.
Four other people were seized from a boat as the gunmen fled, but two of the hostages were left in barangay Kidalapung, Malkita, Davao del Sur, and were found by the police. The two said there were about 20 gunmen in all.
The hostages were seized from the passenger and cargo ship M/V Teresita, which the gang commandeered. They included the boat’s two operators. Their identities were not immediately available.
Those killed were security guard Jimmy Colam and fiberglass technician Rolando Jara. Those injured were not immediately identified. The resort is owned by the wealthy Floirendo family, who are also into banana export and close to the Marcoses.
The attackers fled when they met with return fire from the guards.
The resort’s two motorboats were damaged. The hotel manager believes the attackers were after the speedboats. The raiders boat suffered two big holes and they left it at the Dayang Beach Resort on nearby Talikud Island. The bandits left a .50-caliber machine gun in the kumpit.
Malacañang worried about the new Abu Sayyaf foray because it may drive off foreign tourists.
Presidential spokesman Rigoberto Tiglao said Mrs. Arroyo is monitoring developments and has ordered an alert over all of Mindanao and the Visayas.
The attack came two months after the military uncovered an Abu Sayyaf plan to raid tourist resorts in Mindanao to retaliate for the rescue of an American hostage, Jeffrey Schilling, on April 12. “We will surprise the government within two months,” said Abu Sayyaf spokesman Abu Asmad Salayudi alias Abu Sabaya over a radio station here.
Southern Command spokesman Lt. Col. Danilo Servando said, “The police and military authorities in the area are still determining the identities and investigating the motive for the attack.”
Two of the resort speedboats were damaged after being hit by rifle grenades fired by the bandits.
Policemen pursued the bandits but failed to catch any of them. Naval Task Force 71, aided by helicopter gunships, is searching for the gunmen, who escaped in fast boats.
Pearl Farm manager Alex Groizard said 49 Koreans, 4 Americans, 2 Australians, 2 Taiwanese and 44 Filipinos were staying in the resort at the time of the attack. Guests who left yesterday were scheduled to leave but were overtaken by events; others left out of fear, “which is also a normal reaction.”
Samal Island information officer Noel Daquioag said the raiders could not have been after hostages, since “if they really wanted to do it, they could have gone directly to the Mandaya houses, or the stilt houses on the open side of the resort and far from the guardhouse and the Parola Bar.”
Daquioag said some of the attackers may have been wounded because they left a blood-stained malong, a Moro wrap-around, and a native headwear. Senior Supt. Akmad Mamalinta, deputy police director for Southern Mindanao, corroborated Daquioag’s statement. (Today)