THE government yesterday stood firm in its policy not to give ransom to the extremist Abu Sayyaf in exchange for the release of its hostages.
“To give in to the demands of terrorists and other lawless groups would embolden them to engage in more abductions that would allow them to conduct extremist and other criminal activities as they could buy more arms and weapons,” presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.
Panelo said the government is doing its best to secure the release of the two Indonesian and one Malaysian hostages.
“The ASG continues to be on the run as a result of the order of the President to the military to crush them. Our security forces are hunting them in the wild forests of Mindanao to unleash their might and blow them to kingdom come,” he said.
The Abu Sayyaf threatened to execute the hostages, currently held captive in Mindanao, if ransoms are not paid.
The Indonesian hostages, believed to be Heri Ardiansyah, 19; and Hariadin, 45, were shown in the video in a forested area posted by ASG being guarded by gunmen.
The Malaysian hostage, Jari Abdulla, 24, was not with the two in the video.
The hostages were kidnapped at sea off Sandakan in Sabah on Dec. 5, 2018. (PNA)