ZAMBOANGA CITY ,Philippines – The kidnappers of two Iligan City public school teachers have demanded P4-million ransom, authorities said yesterday.
The kidnappers, led by a certain Mangangao alias Commander Ayatola who has 40 armed followers, said they would free teachers Rene Somadang and Tino Sanchez if their families would shell out the amount until Friday.
The victims, both teaching at the Limonsudan Elementary School, were seized last Monday afternoon while on their way from the Iligan City proper to their campus in Barangay Limonsudan.
Senior Superintendent Celso Regencia, Iligan City police chief, said the ransom demand was relayed in a letter that the kidnappers sent to the families of the two teachers.
Col. Daniel Lucero, commanding officer of the Army’s 103rd Infantry Brigade, said Lanao del Sur Gov. Bombit Andiong has mobilized local authorities to help track down the kidnappers’ hideout, said to be in Tagoloan II town.
Meanwhile, employees of the health department of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao yesterday urged Sulu Gov. Sakur Tan to flex his authority and influence in securing the release without ransom of a colleague who was snatched last Monday.
ARMM Health Secretary Kadil Sinolinding said the kidnapping of midwife Roselyn Kiram, 54, has dampened the enthusiasm of health workers in Sulu to serve in far-flung communities.
Kiram, an ethnic Tausog, was seized by five men wearing ski masks in Barangay Liang, Patikul town while she and her co-workers were on their way to the capital town of Jolo.
Sinolinding said they are worried that the Abu Sayyaf has lately been kidnapping health workers and teachers for ransom.
Last year, the Abu Sayyaf seized another midwife, Evangeline Taverisma, in Indanan, Sulu and freed her after three months when health workers threatened to abandon rural health units and dispensaries in the province. - By Roel Pareño