Incoming Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza has turned over to President-elect Rodrigo Duterte the Filipino woman abducted by the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) along with three other foreign nationals from the high-end marina resort in the Island Garden City of Samal on September 21, 2015.
In his message Friday, Duterte said he does not want to fight with anybody but kidnapping must stop. His statement was issued after receiving Marites Flor from Dureza during the turnover of command at the Davao City Police Office (DCPO) on Friday afternoon.
Dureza and Flor arrived at DCPO at 2:22 p.m from Sulu where the victim was freed by the ASG. Flor was held by the ASG for nine months.
Duterte thanked Dureza and Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan for their help in the negotiations with the ASG.
Dureza confirmed Flor’s release was made through the efforts of Duterte and it came with no precondition. According to Dureza, he just came from Oslo when he was told that their efforts to recover Marites from the ASG yielded good results and he was tasked to pick her up from Sulu.
With this development, Ronel Flor, the brother of Marites, said they are happy she was released. “Mao ra man gyud na among gihulat nga ma release siya (That is the only thing we have been waiting, that she will be released),” Ronel said in a phone interview. Ronel, who is in Valencia, Bukidnon, said the family never had the chance to speak to Marites even when she was in the hands of the ASG. He said they were neither contacted by ASG nor an emissary.
He said he only knew about Flor’s release in the news but her mother was informed by the anti-kidnapping authorities in Davao City.
Meanwhile, Norwegian national Kjartan Sekkingstad still remains in the hands of the ASG.
Dureza said they did not have any information on the fate of Sekkingstad but there are also efforts to save him. “No word for him yet. We only got Flor,” Dureza said.
Flor was released on Thursday night by the ASG under Mujer Yadah and was turned over to Gov. Tan early Friday.
Word has it that a Php20-million ransom was paid for Flor’s release. But Dureza said there was no ransom paid, adding that some of their long-time friends helped secure her release.
He said they are exerting the same efforts for Sekkingstad’s release. Dureza recalled that when they were in Oslo, he had an audience with Foreign Minister Borge Brende of Norway and established a phonepatch between him and Duterte during which they mentioned efforts to recover Sekkingstad.
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