May 28, 2001, INQ7, 9:15 PM, Macapagal offers P100M bounty for Palawan kidnappers,
May 28, 2001, INQ7, 9:18 PM, Macapagal orders military assault on Abu Sayyaf,
May 28, 2001, INQ7, 7:05 PM, Abu Sayyaf only after the money: Palace,
May 28, 2001, INQ7, 5:49 PM, Gov’t lost P3M in revenues after kidnappings: DOT,
May 28, 2001, INQ7, 5:10 PM, American hostage urges talks with Abu Sayyaf,
May 28, 2001, INQ7, 4:35 PM, Abu Sayyaf claims responsibility for Palawan kidnappings, by Dart Tiglao, INQ7.net
May 28, 2001, INQ7, 3:27 PM, Palace creates task force to secure Palawan resorts,
May 28, 2001, INQ7, 1:27 PM, Growing evidence Abu Sayyaf behind kidnappings: Tiglao,
May 28, 2001, INQ7, 1:21 PM, Embattled Muslim leader insists he’s still MNLF head,
May 28, 2001, INQ7, 0:58 PM, Misuari denies MNLF role in Palawan kidnapping,
May 28, 2001, INQ7, 0:34 PM, P1M reward confirmed for information on abductors,
May 28, 2001, INQ7, 0:31 PM, Kidnapped Romero not RII Builders head: report,
May 28, 2001, INQ7, 0:01 PM, Kidnappers land in Mapun, Tawi-Tawi: Armed Forces,
May 28, 2001, INQ7, 11:29 AM, French navy airlifts doctor from Palawan resort,
May 28, 2001, INQ7, 11:11 AM, Tourists cancel, defer travel plans to Palawan, by Erwin Oliva, INQ7.net
May 28, 2001, INQ7, 11:01 AM, Tourist security tight as hunt for kidnappers resumes, by Jason Gutierrez, AFP
May 28, 2001, INQ7, 10:09 AM, US Christian group calls for release of 2 missionaries, by AFP
May 28, 2001, INQ7, 10:03 AM, Gov't offers P1M reward for information on kidnappers,
May 28, 2001, INQ7, 9:58 AM, Officials meet with resort, hotel operators in Palawan,
May 28, 2001, INQ7, 9:54 AM, Americans advised to avoid travel to Mindanao, Palawan,
May 28, 2001, INQ7, 8:48 AM, Kidnappers unlikely to cross border into Malaysia: officials, by AFP
May 28, 2001, INQ7, 8:23 AM, 'No ransom, no negotiation' with kidnappers, says Golez,
'No ransom, no negotiation'
with kidnappers, says Golez
Posted: 8:23 AM (Manila Time) | May 28, 2001 By INQ7.net
PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said there will be “no ransom, no negotiation” with suspected Abu Sayyaf rebels who kidnapped 20 tourists, including three Americans, in Dos Palmas Resort in Palawan.
National Security Adviser Roilo Golez articulated the President's position in an interview with GMA 7's morning program "Unang Hirit." But he admitted that the kidnappers have not sent any ransom notes.
Golez said the government is doing "all it can" to bring back the hostages.
Golez also advised to let the Armed Forces of the Philippines "do their thing" and cautioned media against pressing authorities to reveal details of the investigation.
The President also directed the AFP "to assist resorts" in ensuring the safety of their guests.
The abduction came on the heels of another kidnapping by suspected Abu Sayyaf in Pearl Farm in Davao, another high-end resort. At least four hostages were reportedly taken in that incident and one security guard was wounded.
Meanwhile, Ambassador to Malaysia Jose Brilliantes said the government is negotiating with Kuala Lumpur for assistance in securing entry points to Sabah, one of the rebels' escape routes.
Kidnappers unlikely to cross
border into Malaysia: officials
Posted: 8:48 AM (Manila Time) | May 28, 2001 By AFP
PUERTO PRINCESA -- Gunmen holding three Americans and 17 other hostages are believed to be close to the sea border with Malaysia but are unlikely to leave the Philippines, officials said Monday.
Military authorities resumed a land, sea and air search for suspected Abu Sayyaf Muslim guerrillas who raided the western Philippines resort of Dos Palmas off Palawan island early Sunday.
The hostages include US Protestant missionary couple Martin and Gracia Burnham, another American, Guillermo Sobero, and 17 Filipinos.
"We are continuing a large-scale search and rescue operation," military chief of staff General Diomedio Villanueva told AFP here.
"This morning our flights resumed" over the Sulu Sea, military spokesman Brigadier General Edilberto Adan, said. "We have also sent one Marine battalion in Palawan to search the area where the pirate boat was supposed to have docked." Adan added: "They're still in the area. We don't think they will cross the boundary to Malaysia."
Air force spokesman Colonel Horacio Lapinid said a search aircraft overflew the gunmen's suspected boat shortly before nightfall on Sunday. The vessel was about 22 nautical miles north of the Cagayan de Tawi-Tawi island group.
The sparsely populated islands lie near the Malaysian state of Sabah, about 300 kilometers south of the resort and 875 kilometers south of Manila.
However, Lapanid said the plane, which located the suspected boat, was a "passenger" aircraft and was not able to stop the vessel.
Adan said the gunmen spoke the Tausug dialect of the Abu Sayyaf, which is widely used in the small islands in the southwestern Philippines. "But we are not using the word Abu Sayyaf. We call them terrorist kidnappers from the south."
President Gloria Arroyo's national security adviser Roilo Golez reiterated Monday that Manila had learned its lesson from a similar Abu Sayyaf kidnapping fiasco last year and would not be held to ransom.
Abu Sayyaf guerillas abducted more than a dozen mostly foreign hostages from a Malaysian resort in April last year and took them to Jolo island.
Most of them were released after large ransoms were reportedly paid. The rest were rescued in a military offensive launched in September.
Americans advised to avoid
travel to Mindanao, Palawan
Posted: 9:54 AM (Manila Time) | May 28, 2001 By INQ7.net
THE UNITED States Embassy today issued a travel advisory for American nationals in the Philippines to avoid all travel to southern and western Mindanao, and exercise "extreme caution" when considering travel to resorts in Mindanao and Palawan.
In a public announcement released Sunday, the US Embassy also advised Americans to be "cautious" in outdoor public areas.
The announcement came as a group of bandits kidnapped a group of tourists on Palawan Sunday. The bandits attacked the Dos Palmas Arrecefi Island Resort at Honda Bay and abducted 20 foreigners, including 3 Americans.
The US Embassy statement read that such incidents made "travel unsafe in certain areas in the Philippines" and called for Americans residing or touring the Philippines "to exercise extreme caution" not only due to the kidnapping incident, but also recent "violence during recent political demonstrations...and bombing incidents."
It noted members of Abu Sayyaf group as possible suspects behind the kidnappings, airing concerns that the bandit group "may take additional actions against US citizens and other foreigners." The Abu Sayyaf instigated a spate of kidnappings last year, including the abduction of an American national, Jeffrey Schilling, who was rescued by government troops in April.
A similar attack was reported on Samal Island, Davao, wherein a group of armed bandits stormed another high-end leisure facility, the Barcelo Pearl Farm Beach Resort, which left three people dead. This group reportedly kidnapped four civilians and used them as human shields in their escape.
Officials meet with resort,
hotel operators in Palawan
Posted: 9:58 AM (Manila Time) | May 28, 2001 By INQ7.net
GOVERNMENT officials led by Tourism Secretary Richard Gordon, Interior and Local Governments Secretary Joey Lina and Armed Forces chief of staff Diomedio Villanueva are currently meeting with hotel and restaurant owners and operators in Palawan.
The meeting, which is being held in the Palawan capital of Puerto Princesa, comes amid the abduction of about 20 guests from the plush Dos Palmas Resort in Palawan early Sunday by suspected members of the Abu Sayyaf.
The group is expected to discuss security measures as well as the possible fallout on the tourism sector following the kidnapping, which also involved three American tourists.
The military was quoted in radio reports as saying the kidnappers had fled towards Cagayan de Tawi-Tawi island, which is still part of the Palawan chain of islands, and very near the Malaysian border.
The abductors and their hostages, who were on board a big kumpit (speedboat) with three engines, have yet to be sighted on land, the reports said.
Gov’t offers P1M reward
for information on kidnappers
Posted: 10:03 AM (Manila Time) | May 28, 2001 By INQ7.net
THE GOVERNMENT is offering a P1 million reward for any information leading to the "arrest or neutralization" of the armed men who kidnapped 20 tourists and staff at Dos Palmas Resort in Palawan early Sunday.
Spokesman Brig. Gen. Edilberto Adan said that even with the reward the military is continuing its pursuit of the kidnappers suspected to be members of the Abu Sayyaf.
Adan said armed forces personnel are trying to locate the kidnappers’ bases because "we don’t want them to reach villages where residents will give them sanctuary."
He also denied previous reports that the speedboat used was recovered. Adan said the abductors had a three-engine boat that could load 40-50 people "so it is unlikely that they would get rid of this."
He said President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo instructed the military to "go out and finish them (the kidnappers) once and for all."
But Adan stressed that the government’s paramount concern is to "neutralize the kidnappers and to rescue hostages unharmed."
US Christian group calls for
release of 2 missionaries
Posted: 10:09 AM (Manila Time) | May 28, 2001 By AFP
WASHINGTON -- Leaders of a Florida-based Christian missionary group late Sunday appealed for the release of a husband-and-wife team of US missionaries kidnapped by suspected Muslim rebels in the Philippines.
"These people were doing humanitarian work and we call upon the kidnappers to release them," said New Tribes Mission spokesman Scott Ross.
Martin and Gracia Burnham were among 20 people abducted earlier Sunday from the Dos Palmas Island resort off the island of Palawan in the western Philippines. No group has yet claimed responsibility.
Ross said the Burnhams have been members of missions since 1985 and have served in the Philippines since March 1986. The couple have three children: Jeffrey, 14, Melinda, 11, and Zachary, 10, who were not with them at the time of the kidnapping.
A third American, identified as Guillermo Sobero, was also among those kidnapped.
Philippine authorities said the boat carrying the gunmen and captives sailed south, strengthening speculation that the raiders were guerrillas belonging to Abu Sayyaf, a Muslim group from the southern Philippine island of Jolo, responsible for previous kidnappings for ransom.
Ross said that the Christian mission had 150 missionaries serving in the Philippines, half a dozen of whom operate in the Palawan area.
"Our people were obviously in the wrong place at the wrong time and we hope and pray for their speedy release and ask our supporters to pray with us," he said.
Missionaries for the group have been victims of kidnapings in the past, but never in the Philippines, said Ross. The New Tribes Mission is still hoping for the release of three missionaries kidnapped by Colombian guerrillas in 1993, he added.
Tourist security tight as hunt
for kidnappers resumes
Posted: 11:01 AM (Manila Time) | May 28, 2001 By Jason Gutierrez, AFP
PUERTO PRINCESA -- Security was tightened in tourist areas Monday as a huge land, sea and air hunt resumed for gunmen who seized 20 people, including three Americans, from a resort.
The suspected Abu Sayyaf Muslim guerrilla raiders were last seen travelling at top speed aboard three boats near the Cagayan de Tawi-Tawi island group close to the Malaysian sea border at nightfall Sunday, the authorities said.
They had attacked the upscale Dos Palmas resort off Palawan at dawn Sunday and escaped with US missionary couple Martin and Gracia Burnham, another American Guillermo Sobero, and 17 Filipinos, including tourists and resort workers.
"We are continuing a large-scale search and rescue operation," Armed Forces chief of staff General Diomedio Villanueva told AFP in this provincial capital, where he is personally directing the manhunt on orders from President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Armed Forces spokesman Brigadier General Edilberto Adan said the government had "intensified the security of all tourist areas in the Philippines."
A high-ranking military official in the south said the three suspected kidnappers' boats took evasive action when a navy surveillance plane circled above them in the Sulu Sea on Sunday afternoon.
The crew was clad in green, and one of the boats had palm leaves installed as improvised roofing.
"The possibility is that they are moving to Jolo or Tawi-Tawi (island group near the Malaysian border)," said the official, who asked not to be named.
Air force spokesman Horacio Lapinid said nine military helicopters and planes are involved in the search.
The three suspect vessels were seen about 22 nautical miles north of the Cagayan de Tawi-Tawi island group, but the Nomad surveillance plane did not have the capability of stopping them.
It broke off contact and returned to base because it was running out of fuel. "We suspect the abductors and their victims were on board," Lapinid said on local television.
Adan said one marine battalion was also put on shore in southern Palawan "to search the area where the pirate boat was supposed to have docked" before the Cagayan de Tawi-Tawi sighting.
He added: "They're still in the area. We don't think they will cross the boundary to Malaysia." The government earlier appealed to the Malaysian navy for help in blocking the kidnappers' escape routes.
Adan appealed to the families of the captives to avoid discussing the "personal circumstances" of the victims to anyone aside from the proper authorities.
Tourists cancel, defer
travel plans to Palawan
Posted: 11:11 AM (Manila Time) | May 28, 2001 By Erwin Oliva, INQ7.net
TOURISTS on their way to resorts in Palawan have cancelled travel plans in reaction to the abduction of foreign guests in Dos Palmas Arreceffi Island resort at Honda Bay near Puerto Princesa on Sunday morning.
Confirmed guests of Maricaban Bay, a resort located in Coron, Palawan, have either cancelled or deferred their reservations in reaction to the news, according to Cathy Madueno, the resort’s assistant sales manager.
Maricaban Bay resort, however, is located in a separate island far northeast from where foreign and Filipino tourists were kidnapped, Madueno said.
"It would take at least an hour of plane ride and a 12-hour boat ride to Puerto Princesa," she assured.
Meantime, some guests who arrived at the airport at Busuanga Island, north of Palawan, on Sunday expressed concern about the incident and were considering canceling their reservations at various resorts around the island.
A group of tourists from Sweden on their way to Coron Island were evidently uneasy as they skimmed newspapers brought from Metro Manila.
French navy airlifts doctor
from Palawan resort
Posted: 11:29 AM (Manila Time) | May 28, 2001 By INQ7.net with AFP
ARRECIFE Island - A French navy helicopter Monday airlifted a French family from this western Philippines island resort, joining other guests who fled in droves after armed kidnappers seized 20 people, an official said.
A doctor assigned to the French mission in Manila, her husband and their two children early Monday boarded the aircraft sent by a French frigate on a goodwill visit to the Philippines, Tourism Secretary Richard Gordon told AFP as he inspected the island.
The hotel guests' identities were not disclosed for security reasons. The French embassy's military attaché and three French soldiers accompanied the family out of Arrecife island, Gordon said.
Suspected Abu Sayyaf Muslim guerrillas attacked the upscale Dos Palmas resort here at dawn Sunday and fled taking with them US missionary couple Martin and Gracia Burnham, another American Guillermo Sobero, and 17 Filipinos, including tourists and resort workers.
"We trust the local authorities here and we are just providing support for our nationals," French defence attache Philippe Groult said on Sunday.
Gordon said only 39 of the 123 guests present during the raid had elected to remain on the resort, which is located on Honda Bay off Palawan. Police and military units landed there on Sunday to secure the guests' cottages.
"It doesn't mean that they have won. I am certain that we can rebound," Gordon said.
"I would certainly like to see this resort teeming with tourists again."
Kidnappers land in Mapun,
Tawi-Tawi: Armed Forces
Posted: 0:01 PM (Manila Time) | May 28, 2001 By AFP
ZAMBOANGA -- Suspected Muslim guerrillas who abducted 20 people from a western Philippines resort landed in the remote southern island of Mapun in the Tawi-Tawi archipelago on Monday, Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesman Col. Danilo Servando said.
"Troops from the 2nd Marine Brigade were dispatched to the area this morning" after the island town's mayor, Abdul Pata, alerted the authorities about the arrival of the suspected kidnappers, Servando told reporters.
Kidnapped Romero not RII
Builders head: report
Posted: 0:31 PM (Manila Time) | May 28, 2001 By INQ7.net
RII Builders chair Regis Romero is out of the country and is not one of the 20 tourists kidnapped by suspected Abu Sayyaf rebels, a statement issued by the construction firm said.
A certain "Regis Romero" appeared on the list of kidnapped guests of the Dos Palmas Arrecife Island Resort that were snatched by armed bandits Sunday morning.
Romero also had a brief stint as publisher of Manila Times.
P1M reward confirmed
for information on abductors
Posted: 0:34 PM (Manila Time) | May 28, 2001 By INQ7.net
ARMED FORCES spokesman Brig. Gen. Edilberto Adan confirmed that the government has raised P1 million in reward money "for any information leading to the location, arrest or neutralization" of kidnappers of 20 tourists, including 3 Americans at the Dos Palmas resort in Palawan on Sunday.
Adan made the announcement after meeting with Local Government Secretary Joey Lina and Tourism Secretary Richard Gordon at Puerto Princesa in Palawan.
Adan also cautioned the victims' families not to "blow up the incident" by providing information on their background.
The AFP spokesperson also said two marine battalions have been deployed to Palawan to pursue the abductors who are suspected of being Abu Sayyaf members.
Adan reiterated the government’s 'no ransom, no negotiation' policy with terrorists.
Misuari denies MNLF role
in Palawan kidnapping
Posted: 0:58 PM (Manila Time) | May 28, 2001 By INQ7.net
ARMM Governor Nur Misuari denied the Moro National Liberation Front’s (MNLF) involvement in the kidnapping of 20 tourists in Dos Palmas Arrecife Island resort, Palawan on Sunday.
Misuari told a radio interview that the MNLF "never engages in these kind of activities or face expulsion if they do."
In fact, Misuari said, the MNLF national security command reportedly sighted two speedboats headed towards "an undefined destination" 11 days ago. He said this was before the abductions at the Pearl Farm in Davao and Dos Palmas. "But we can only speculate," Misuari added.
Misuari also said that the MNLF "would just be too happy" to help the government if asked. Misuari said he had told President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo that the MNLF "supports her administration."
Earlier, Misuari tried but failed to negotiate for the release of 21 hostages whom the Abu Sayyaf kidnapped in April 2000 off Sipadan island in Malaysia.
Embattled Muslim leader
insists he’s still MNLF head
Posted: 1:21 PM (Manila Time) | May 28, 2001 By INQ7.net
ARMM Gov. Nur Misuari said he is still Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) chair despite alleged moves by alleged "conspirators" to oust him.
Misuari told a radio interview that he still enjoys the support 120 members in the central committee.
The organization’s national congress, he said, continues to authorize him as MNLF representative.
The embattled chair issued the statement in response to reports that he has been replaced as MNLF chair because he has not allegedly "brought progress to Mindanao."
MNLF vice chair Hadiz Hassan said that Misuari is no longer the head of the rebel group after meeting with other Muslim leaders in a meeting in Makati on Saturday.
Growing evidence Abu Sayyaf
behind kidnappings: Tiglao
Posted: 1:27 PM (Manila Time) | May 28, 2001 By AFP
THERE is growing evidence that Abu Sayyaf Muslim guerrillas are behind the abduction of three Americans and 17 Filipinos from an upmarket island resort in the western Philippines, Presidential Spokesperson Rigoberto Tiglao today said.
While reiterating the government's stance that it will not pay any ransoms, Tiglao said the government was prepared to negotiate "to try to talk to them to release the hostages."
"The evidence is stronger that the group is a splinter group of the Abu Sayyaf," Tiglao told a news conference.
Abu Sayyaf guerillas abducted more than a dozen mostly foreign hostages from a Malaysian resort in April last year and took them to the southern Philippine island of Jolo.
Most were freed after large ransoms were reportedly paid. The rest were rescued in a military offensive launched in September, but the gunmen still hold one Filipino captive from that raid.
Tiglao said the raiders of the Dos Palmas resort off Palawan island on Sunday were apparently adopting the classic Abu Sayyaf tactic.
This was to "bring their hostages to areas where they have a mass base of support to prevent the military to conduct their rescue operation and open up possibilities for negotiations."
"There are indications they are moving in these areas," he said.
A military spokesman said the suspected kidnappers were seen landing in the remote island town of Mapun in the Tawi-Tawi group near Malaysian Borneo on Monday.
Military spokesmen in Manila said the kidnappers and their captives were aboard three boats when last seen by reconnaissance aircraft near the Cagayan de Tawi-Tawi island group on Sunday afternoon.
Tiglao said the gunmen's boats had top speeds of 40 knots, way beyond the capability of Philippine navy vessels.
Using that type of craft they would have eaten up the wide expanse of Sulu Sea between Palawan and Cagayan de Tawi-Tawi in five hours, Tiglao said.
Tiglao also said President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was setting up a special task force "to ensure the security of all the country's resort areas" following the Dos Palmas raid.
Tourism Secretary Richard Gordon is likely to head the body, which would also include senior police and military officials as well as several departments and representatives of resort operators, he added.
"The biggest problem really is the Philippine navy has very few patrol boats. There are plans to increase the number of these patrol boats," he said.
"The president wants the private sector to help secure fast patrol boats."
Palace creates task force
to secure Palawan resorts
Posted: 3:27 PM (Manila Time) | May 28, 2001 By Lira Dalangin, INQ7.net
MALACANANG today created an inter-agency tasked force to beef up security of the country’ resorts following the hostage-taking incident in Dos Palmas Arreceffi Island Resort in Puerto Princesa, Palawan.
In a press briefing, Presidential Rigoberto Tiglao said the task force will be composed of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, Department of Transportation and Communication, Department of Interior and Local Government, Department of Tourism, and the elite Anti-Crime Task Force of the AFP.
Resort owners and private groups were also enjoined to reinforce the task force.
Tiglao said President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is still consulting with the members of the task force on who should lead it, but mentioned that the name of Tourism Secretary Richard Gordon has been proposed.
At least 20 people, including three Americans, were abducted at dawn yesterday by about 20 heavily armed men believed to be members of the Abu Sayyaf bandit group.
Last week, armed men stormed the Pearl Farm Resort in Davao City killing three people. Navy patrol guards were rendered helpless by the bandits who had more powerful firearms and faster sea craft.
Abu Sayyaf claims responsibility
for Palawan kidnappings
Posted: 4:35 PM (Manila Time) | May 28, 2001 By Dart Tiglao, INQ7.net
THE ABU Sayyaf has claimed responsibility for the recent kidnapping of 20 guests and staff of Dos Palmas Resort off the island of Palawan.
Abu Sayyaf leader Abu Sabaya Janjalani confirmed in a radio interview that that they were behind the early Sunday raid and were indeed holding the 20 hostages, including three American citizens.
The group was holding half of the hostages in the southern island of Basilan and the other half in nearby Jolo, he said.
"Now that we have three Americans, you should not take us for granted," he said.
He added that the government, which had earlier voiced its suspicion that the bandit group was behind the kidnapping, had belittled their capabilities.
The radio interview also had a statement from one of the American hostages, Martin Burnham.
Burnham whose wife Gracia is also a captive appealed to the government for a safe negotiation, while Abu Sabaya declared their move as an act for the government to take them seriously.
American hostage urges
talks with Abu Sayyaf
Posted: 5:10 PM (Manila Time) | May 28, 2001 By INQ7.net with AFP
AN AMERICAN held hostage by the bandit group Abu Sayyaf today appealed to the government over local radio to negotiate his release.
Martin Burnham, 41, one of 20 captives seized from the upscale Dos Palmas Resort in Palawan early Sunday, told a radio interview he and his wife, Gracia, were in the custody of the Abu Sayyaf guerrilla group.
"We are safe. Our needs are being met. We would like to appeal for a safe negotiation," he said in a telephone interview.
Another hostage, Filipino Raul Recio also said in the interview: "I hope they (the government) will not think of delaying and trying a rescue effort as they (the Abu Sayyaf) are good people."
A spokesman of the Abu Sayyaf, Abu Sabaya, who contacted the radio station, confirmed they were holding 20 guests and staff they had abducted from the resort. Half of the hostages were being held in Basilan while the others were in the Sulu islands, he said.
Three Americans and 17 Filipinos were seized by the Abu Sayyaf from the Dos Palmas resort in a daring raid early Sunday. The Philippine military is currently in pursuit of the abductors, who were reportedly headed towards the island of Cagayan de Tawi-tawi near the Malaysian border.
Gov’t lost P3M in revenues
after kidnappings: DOT
Posted: 5:49 PM (Manila Time) | May 28, 2001 By INQ7.net
THE DEPARTMENT of Tourism (DOT) said the government lost P3 million in terms of revenues from the recent kidnappings at the Pearl Farm in Davao and at the Dos Palmas in Palawan.
This is why the the DOT is looking at Cebu and northern Luzon as potential tourist sites in place of these areas where peace and order has become a problem, a radio report quoted the DOT as saying.
The DOT said it plans to launch an “aggressive” promotional campaign to bring back tourists and to beef up security in beach resorts.
It was reported earlier that tourists at neighboring beach resorts in Coron, Palawan fled after alleged Abu Sayyaf rebels kidnapped 20 tourists, including three Americans at the Dos Palmas on Sunday. Before this, members of the Muslim rebel group took hostage four villagers also. So far, there have been no ransom notes.
Despite its "no ransom, no negotiation" policy, the government promised a P1 million reward for any one who could provide information that would lead to the arrest of the kidnappers.
Abu Sayyaf only after
the money: Palace
Posted: 7:05 PM (Manila Time) | May 28, 2001 By INQ7.net
GOVERNMENT will negotiate for the safe release of 17 Filipinos and 3 Americans hostages, but will maintain a no-ransom stand, Malacañang said after Abu Sayyaf claimed responsibility for the abduction in Palawan.
In a radio interview, presidential spokesperson Rigoberto Tiglao belied spokesman Abu Sabaya's statement that their purpose was for the government to take them seriously. Tiglao affirmed that the group's reason is plain money, to replenish last year's kidnap spoils.
Tiglao added that the spate of Abu Sayyaf kidnappings last year enabled the group to buy high-powered speedboat and other equipment.
A task force composed of military and government officials will meet at 6 pm this evening to plan their move while military units are currently monitoring suspected Abu Sayyaf lairs, Tiglao also said.
Macapagal orders military
assault on Abu Sayyaf
Posted: 9:18 PM (Manila Time) | May 28, 2001 By AFP
PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has ordered a full-scale miltary assault Monday on the Abu Sayyaf rebel group holding 20 hostages abducted from the Dos Palmas Resort in Palawan, her spokesman said.
"The president has decided to meet force with force so there will be no (negotiations for) ransom," spokesman Rigoberto Tiglao said after Ms Macapagal chaired a meeting of top security officials.
Macapagal offers P100M
bounty for Palawan kidnappers
Posted: 9:15 PM (Manila Time) | May 28, 2001 By INQ7.net
PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is offering a P100 million bounty for the leaders and members of the notorious Abu Sayyaf rebel group, which had abducted 20 people from a resort in Palawan.
In a televised address, the President also said that she was offering a P5 million reward to anyone who provided information leading to the capture of Abu Sayyaf leaders and one million pesos to anyone who helped nab lower-ranking members of the group.
Ms Macapagal warned the Abu Sayyaf, "You can run but you won't get far" even as she reiterated the “no ransom” policy of the government.
"If you think you can get money out of this, you are wrong. Don't expect any ransom," the President said in Tagalog.
The Abu Sayyaf had kidnapped about 20 guests and staff of the Dos Palmas Resort in Palawan early Sunday. A spokesman of the group Abu Sabaya had confirmed they were holding the hostages in separate sites in Basilan and Sulu.
She reiterated her message public announcement of a bounty, saying, "Surrender to us the brains of this group and you will get a reward."
At the same time, the President said that she had instructed the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police to provide additional security to the resorts and other tourist areas in the Philippine coastline.
The Navy and the Coast Guard will also double their patrols, she said.
The Philippines' neighboring countries will help in capturing the Abu Sayyaf bandits, Ms Macapagal said.
"As your president I will do everything to crush these bandits," she vowed.