Police search outside Davao for kidnapped foreigners, Pinay
DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Four days after armed men snatched 3 foreign nationals and a Filipina from a resort in Samal Island, Davao del Norte, state security forces have expanded their search operations outside Davao region.
Senior Supt Federico Dulay, head of the Special Investigation Task Group Ocean View, said that authorities in Region 12 – provinces of Cotabato, Sarangani, and Sultan Kudarat – were already advised to join the hunt.
Dulay said they have received information that the victims were seen in Davao del Sur, but this has yet to be verified. "At the back of Davao del Sur is Sarangani, which is already Region 12," Dulay said.
"We cannot let our guard down because we have a very long shore line and anyone can always dock their motorized banca there," Dulay said.
"All sightings are considered potential information but must be validated," Dulay said. "We have received initial information about the identities [of the kidnappers] but we can't divulge their identities yet because we are taking into consideration the safety of the teams," he added.
No group has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping.
Police identified the victims as Norwegian resort manager Kjartan Sekkinstad, 56; Canadian guests John Ridsdel, 68, and Robert Hall, 50; and Hall's Filipina girlfriend identified only as "Tess."
Duterte: Not the NPA
At least 11 armed men stormed the Holiday Oceanview Resort late evening of September 21 and forcibly took the 4 victims with them.
Investigators said the perpetrators attempted to kidnap a Japanese couple but failed after spouses Steven and Kazuka Tripp fought back.
Authorities noted the lax security at Holiday Oceanview Resort, where the abduction took place. The vast resort located along the Camudmud shoreline in Babak District had only two security personnel armed with .38 caliber pistol when the incident happened Monday night. (READ: Samal resort owners urged: Boost security, let police in)
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte noted that the incident was a "pretty good plan" that could only have been implemented by "professionals."
"They must be professionals. [What] we saw on the CCTV, the movement was very, very precise," Duterte said.
He debunked reports that the communist New People's Army was behind the abduction despite a supposed handwritten note left behind by the kidnappers saying they belonged to the NPA.
"No. Definitely that is not the style of the NPA. The NPAs do not kidnap for money. It is an ideological thing," Duterte said.
The tough-talking mayor said that while the NPA may have been involved in taking captive several people, they only targeted soldiers and cops. "But not civilians who have no part in this war," Duterte said. – Rappler.com