May 31, 2001, BBC News, 'Hostages hit' in Philippines clash,
May 31, 2001, AP / Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Hostages reportedly seen in grenade-laden boat,
May 31, 2001, Gulf News, Four rebel leaders blamed for abduction, Raffy Jiminez, Barbara Mae Dacanay,
May 31, 2001, Gulf News, MILF offers to negotiate with rebels, by Gilbert Felongco,
May 31, 2001, Gulf News, Four rebel leaders blamed for abduction, Raffy Jiminez, Barbara Mae Dacanay,
May 31, 2001, The Philippine Star, Military still in the dark on hostages,
May 31, 2001, The Philippine Star, MILF also ready to hunt down Sayyaf, by John Unson,
May 31, 2001, Inquirer, 11:51 PM, US naval force arrives in RP,
May 31, 2001, Inquirer, 11:03 PM, Macapagal-Arroyo prays for hostages' safety,
May 31, 2001, Inquirer, 10:00 PM, Recto hangs precarious at 12th position,
May 31, 2001, INQ7, 9:16 PM, Houses agree on final version of Power Bill,
May 31, 2001, INQ7, 8:44 PM, No proof of hostages in Sulu, Basilan: military spokesperson,
May 31, 2001, INQ7, 8:35 PM, Firm pushes IT-enabled voter ID system for 2004,
May 31, 2001, AFP, 8:06 PM, Emirati court finds Filipina maid guilty of murder: report,
May 31, 2001, INQ7, 7:03 PM, Abu Sayyaf hostages in Sulu: report,
May 31, 2001, INQ7, 7:01 PM, Ex-Sipadan hostage asks gov’t not to launch war vs Abu Sayyaf,
May 31, 2001, INQ7, 6:11 PM, 'No basis' for fare hike lobby: LTFRB chief,
May 31, 2001, AFP / INQ7, 6:04 PM, Rescue of Abu Sayyaf hostages ‘dangerous proposition’: Akbar,
May 31, 2001, INQ7, 5:46 PM, Senate fails to reach quorum in power bill deliberation,
May 31, 2001, INQ7, 5:33 PM, Good news, bad news in gov’t pay increase,
May 31, 2001, AFP, 5:17 PM, RP trims growth targets amid security problems,
May 31, 2001, AFP, 4:34 PM, US in close contact with Manila over hostage crisis,
May 31, 2001, INQ7, 4:06 PM, US Marines in Subic a coincidence, Palace says,
May 31, 2001, INQ7, 2:41 PM, Smooth sailing for supplemental budget,
May 31, 2001, INQ7 / AFP, 2:40 PM, US fighters land in Clark amid hostage crisis,
May 31, 2001, INQ7, 2:20 PM, Senate, House panels to meet on power bill, by Lira Dalangin,
May 31, 2001, INQ7, 1:22 PM, Accept US help in tracking Sayyaf, says Senate president,
May 31, 2001, INQ7 / AFP, 12:50 PM, Abu Sayyaf group counts 1,100 members: military,
May 31, 2001, INQ7, 12:27 PM, Abu Sayyaf, hostages on the move in Basilan,
May 31, 2001, INQ7, 12:27 PM, Abu Sayyaf, hostages on the move in Basilan,
May 31, 2001, INQ7, 12:24 PM, Abu hostages hungry, tired with bruised feet: source, by Fe B. Zamora,
May 31, 2001, AFP, 10:25 AM, Press watchdog seeks action over killing of Zambo journalist,
May 31, 2001, INQ7, 9:48 AM, Senate seen passing power bill next week: Osmeña,
May 31, 2001, INQ7, 9:30 AM, No formal offer from US on Abu Sayyaf: Golez,
May 31, 2001, INQ7, 8:57 AM, Jolo police holding Abu Sayyaf member: report,
May 31, 2001, AFP / INQ7, 2:33 AM, War, kidnappings, torture scar Philippines: Amnesty,
May 31, 2001, Inquirer, 1:23 AM, 2 Fil-Chinese scions killed inside store,
May 31, 2001, INQ7, 1:04 PM, Bandits free 3 fishermen,
May 31, 2001, Inquirer, 1:00 AM, 1,400 American troops arriving for war games,
May 31, 2001, AFP / INQ7, 12:50 PM, Abu Sayyaf group counts 1,100 members: military,
May 31, 2001, Inquirer, 12:06 AM, Tourism secretary remains optimistic,
May 31, 2001, Inquirer, 12:03 AM, Ramos sees bleak future for tourism industry, T.J. Burgonio,
May 31, 2001, INQ7 Editorial, Blackout,
May 31, 2001, AFP, US in close contact with Manila over hostage crisis, 4:34 PM (Manila Time)
THE UNITED States said it was in close contact with the Macapagal government over a massive military operation to rescue three Americans and 17 Filipinos abducted by the Abu Sayyaf.
"The US embassy continues (to be) in close contact with Philippine government officials on the current hostage situation," an embassy statement said.
"We look to the government of the Philippines to secure the safe releases of the hostages."
The US government "condemns this latest act of terrorism" by the Abu Sayyaf rebel group, the statement said.
The US also reiterated an earlier call for the immediate, safe and unconditional release of the captives.
"The US has not intervened in this matter. We remain in close contact with the government of the Philippines because three American citizens are involved," the statement said.
The Abu Sayyaf kidnapped 17 tourists and three staff from the Dos Palmas beach resort off the Philippines' western province of Palawan on Sunday.
The US and Philippine governments have been discussing how they can work together to resolve the kidnapping crisis but local officials stressed they are only talking about exchanges of information, not military aid.
May 31, 2001, INQ7 / AFP, Rescue of Abu Sayyaf hostages 'dangerous proposition': Akbar 6:04 PM
BASILAN governor Wahab Akbar warned the military that a rescue attempt would be "a very dangerous proposition."
Akbar told the AFP that the Abu Sayyaf who kidnapped 3 Americans and 17 Filipinos at the Dos Palmas resort in Palawan last Sunday is "determined to carry out their threat to kill all the hostages if they are attacked."
Brig. Gen. Edilberto Adan, AFP spokesman, conceded the operation "could lead to casualties", but insisted that the troops involved were well trained.
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has thrown paratroopers, Marines, naval vessels and military aircraft after the Abu Sayyaf.
Akbar also said the Muslim bandits "would not repeat their strategy of last year," when they snatched 21 people including western tourists from the Malaysian resort of Sipadan and took them directly to Jolo. Most of those hostages were ransomed off for millions of dollars.
He said the captives could be hidden in one or more of the hundreds of small islets, shoals and reefs that dot the Sulu Sea.
They include American missionaries Richard and Gracia Burnham of Kansas, who have worked in the Philippines since 1986, and Californian Guillermo Sobrero.
May 31, 2001, INQ7, Abu Sayyaf hostages in Sulu: report, 7:03 PM (Manila Time)
A GROUP of Abu Sayyaf hostages from the Dos Palmas resort in Palawan is already in Sulu, reportedly under the custody of Commanders Robot (Galib Andang) and Mujib Susukan.
Former members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) who are now soldiers of the armed forces claimed to have identified the group of hostages, said a report from GMA-7’s "Saksi."
The MNLF integrees even identified some of the hostages who are now supposedly in Barangay Ginggan in Talipao, Sulu. They claimed that the group of hostages includes Lalaine Chua, Janice Ting Go, Regis Romero, Sonny Dacquero and Letty Jao. The former MNLF fighters, however, said they have yet to see the group, which is reportedly being held in a mangrove area.
A separate report from police officials in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao said 11 suspected Dos Palmas hostages were sighted unbound and ungagged in another barangay in Talipao yesterday morning. Police officials there are still verifying the report.
Meanwhile, Philippine National Police chief Leandro Mendoza said the police have already formed Task Force Mindanao to arrest Abu Sayyaf members. Mendoza has arrived in Sulu.
May 31, 2001, INQ, No proof of hostages in Sulu, Basilan: military spokesperson, 8:44 PM (Manila Time)
ARMED Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Brig. Gen. Edilberto Adan said the military has yet to confirm information that Abu Sayyaf hostages were seen in Basilan and Sulu.
Adan was reacting to Abu Sayyaf spokesperson Abu Sabaya’s claim that the Muslim bandits slipped through the naval blockade with the 20 Palawan hostages being divided into two groups. Sabaya was quoted as saying that the first group is in Sulu while the other is in Basilan.
The AFP spokesperson in an interview with radio station dzBB stressed that the military is checking all reports of sightings in Basilan and Sulu aside from conducting navy patrols. He said the scope of the operations involved checking out 34 islands in Basilan and 37 in Sulu.
Adan said that he could not categorically say that the hostages are indeed in Basilan and Sulu. He added that while Sabaya’s claims might turn out to be true, it is also possible that the Abu Sayyaf leader is only trying to mislead the government.
He said the Abu Sayyaf has not made any ransom demand. But he said based on the Abu Sayyaf's nature, the bandits are after money and publicity.
Adan was referring to last year’s Sipadan hostage crisis, when the Abu Sayyaf received millions in ransom money and media mileage.
May 31, 2001, INQ7, Abu hostages hungry, tired with bruised feet: source, by Fe B. Zamora,
12:24 PM (Manila Time)
HUNGER, fatigue and bruised feet from days of walking in the Basilan jungles have taken its toll on the hostages held by Abu Sayyaf terrorists, according to an INQ7.net source in Basilan.
The source was able to contact Abu Sayyaf spokesman Abu Ahmad Salayuddin alias Abu Sabaya through radio Thursday morning.
"We are looking for a place to settle, but we could not. We are constantly moving," the source quoted Sabaya as saying.
"They (hostages) are hungry, they are tired. We are also very tired," Sabaya also said.
Sabaya told the INQ7.net source they arrived in Basilan Tuesday night "and have been moving since then."
Sabaya had claimed in a radio interview on Monday that they were holding three Americans and 7 Filipino hostages in Basilan, with the rest of the hostages abducted from the Dos Palmas Resort in Palawan being held in Jolo.
Sabaya also declined a request relayed by the INQ7.net source to see the hostages. "That's difficult. We cannot be located," Sabaya told the source.
May 31, 2001, INQ7, US Marines in Subic a coincidence, Palace says, 4:06 PM (Manila Time)
US MARINES reported to have docked in Subic Bay are part of Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training Exercise 2001 (Carat), according to Presidential Spokesperson Rigoberto Tiglao.
Tiglao in an interview said that the presence of the US Marines in the former American naval base has no relation to the ongoing hostage crisis involving the Abu Sayyaf bandits. "It's a mere coincidence, this has been scheduled a year ago," he said, adding this exercise is also being done in other countries.
Meanwhile, Tiglao said that there is no concrete offer of assistance from the US following American congressman Robert Underwood's meeting with President Gloria Macapagal in Malacañang yesterday.
"It was a general proposal that can be likened to a friend offering his help," Tiglao said.
Meanwhile, Senate President Pimentel urged the government to accept help from the US in terms of information, financial and technical assistance only.
May 31, 2001, INQ7, Accept US help in tracking Sayyaf, says Senate president,1:22 PM (Manila Time)
THERE is no reason to refuse United States help in tracking 17 Filipinos and three Americans being held by the Abu Sayyaf bandits, Senate president Aquilino Pimentel said.
Pimentel said in a radio dzBB report that US support would facilitate faster rescue of the hostages and neutralization of the bandits given the American military’s equipment and resources.
However, he said that foreign assistance must be limited to information, financial and technical support as previously stipulated by the military. Actual combat forces from the US would undermine Philippines’ capability to protect its own, according to Pimentel.
Meanwhile, the military awaits initial contact with the Abu Sayyaf as the Navy and Armed Forces continue to patrol waters off Palawan, Sulu and Basilan in search of the bandits and their hostages.
May 31, 2001, AFP / INQ7, War, kidnappings, torture scar Philippines: Amnesty, 2:33 AM (Manila Time)
LONDON -- Escalating civil conflict, kidnappings and reports of torture in prisons blackened the human rights record of the Philippines in 2000, Amnesty International said Wednesday.
Ongoing conflict in the central Mindanao region between the government and Muslim separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) "led to the displacement of over 400,000 civilians," it said.
There were also "reports of indiscriminate bombings and human rights violations by the Armed Forces of the Philippines" and of "extrajudicial executions, 'disappearances' and torture" of people thought to be linked to the MILF.
Amnesty said there were also reports of abuses in custody of those suspected to be linked to communist or Muslim opposition groups and even ordinary criminal suspects, including women and children.
Another Muslim group, the Abu Sayyaf bandits, carried out a series of kidnappings for ransom of foreigners and Filipinos during the past year.
In a Sunday dawn raid, the outlaw group Abu Sayyaf again resumed its terroristic activities by abducting three Americans and 17 Filipinos from the high-end Dos Palmas resort in Puerto Princesa City.
President Macapagal-Arroyo announced Monday on television that her government had decided to put up a P100-million bounty for the capture of the bandits--P5 million for each Abu Sayyaf leader and P1 million for each member involved.
But on Tuesday she imposed a news blackout on the military offensive against the bandits holding the 20 hostages.
United States officials, through Congressman Robert Underwood, yesterday offered to work together with the Philippine government "on contacts at all levels, including military-to-military," to end the hostage crisis.
May 31, 2001, INQ7, Jolo police holding Abu Sayyaf member: report, 8:57 AM (Manila Time)
THE PHILIPPINE National Police in Jolo are holding an alleged member of the Abu Sayyaf bandit group, a radio report said.
The Abu member identified as Andak Samah is reportedly allied with the Muslim rebel group leader Commander Galib "Robot" Andang.
The said Abu Sayyaf member apparently went to the National Police Commission in Jolo to seek information about police and troop movements in the area when the authorities identified him as one of those in the wanted list of the police. He is currently undergoing tactical interrogation by the Jolo police.
May 31, 2001, INQ7, No formal offer from US on Abu Sayyaf: Golez, 9:30 AM (Manila Time)
NATIONAL Security Adviser Roilo Golez said there has been no direct or formal of support from the United States on tracking or quelling the Abu Sayyaf bandits.
But Golez added that any support coming from the US is likely to be limited to "an exchange of information" on the whereabouts of the Abu Sayyaf who kidnapped 20 local and foreign guests and staff of the Dos Palmas Hotel in Palawan on May 27.
Golez' clarification was prompted by earlier reports that the US, through Congressman Robert Underwood and Charge d’ affaires Michael Malinowski, offered President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo military support to free the hostages, including three Americans.
The national security adviser assured there would be no "warm bodies" involved or US troops present in the rescue operations.
Golez also reiterated the government’s "no ransom, no negotiation" policy but stressed that the "paramount concern is the safety of the hostages."
For their part, Sen. Rodolfo Biazon and Congressman-elect Satur Ocampo, national chair of Bayan Muna, welcomed the US support but said the government "should take care that it will not be interpreted as anything else."
Ocampo said the offensive against the Abu Sayyaf is a "police operation."
Biazon said the Americans could offer "technical assistance" by providing aerial photos of suspected Abu Sayyaf lairs.
May 31, 2001, AFP, Press watchdog seeks action over killing of Zambo journalist, 10:25 AM Manila Time,
AN INTERNATIONAL press watchdog group on Thursday urged Interior Secretary Jose Lina to intervene over the slaying of a Filipino journalist.
Candelario Cayona, 27, a broadcaster for radio station dxLL in the southern city of Zamboanga, was shot and killed while on his way to work at dawn on Wednesday. No arrests have been made.
Paris-based Reporters Sans Frontieres (Reporters Without Borders -- RSF) said Lina should "intervene so security services can identify the person responsible for the killing".
"The government must promptly impose its authority in this part of the country and fight against the impunity of the journalists' killers," it said, noting that Cayona had "received death threats from a high army official just eight months ago."
Cayona allegedly received death threats due to his hard-hitting commentaries on local officials and Muslim rebels during an Abu Sayyaf hostage-taking drama last year.
"If I hear you interview Sabaya (spokesman of Abu Sayyaf) again, I will kill you," the press watchdog quoted a military official as telling Cayona last September 17.
The Abu Sayyaf is the guerrilla group which snatched more than 20 people, including three Americans, from a tourist resort in Palawan on Sunday.
May 31, 2001, INQ7, Bandits free 3 fishermen, 1:04 PM (Manila Time)
THE ABU Sayyaf freed the remaining three fishermen the group had abducted after its raid on the Dos Palmas Resort in Palawan, Armed Forces spokesperson Brig. Gen. Edilberto Adan said.
In a press briefing, Adan said the fishermen are now in the custody of military officials for tactical interrogation.
Two of their companions escaped earlier when the Muslim bandits reportedly docked for gas in the island of Cagayan de Tawi-Tawi. They identified the abductors as those involved in last year's hostage-taking incident in Sidapan island off the coast of Malaysia.
But the military spokesman refuted reports that the kidnappers and their hostages, including three Americans are still in Cagayan de Tawi-Tawi or in the nearby islands.
May 31, 2001, INQ7 / AFP, Abu Sayyaf group counts 1,100 members: military, 12:50 PM (Manila Time)
THE ABU Sayyaf bandit group holding 20 people seized from the Dos Palmas Resort in Palawan have about 1,100 members and 385 firearms, Armed Forces spokesman Brig. Gen. Edilberto Adan said.
Adan said in a press briefing that there were fewer Abu Sayyaf rebels following a military operation against them that started last year.
He said government troops clashed with Abu Sayyaf rebels 226 times from January 2000-May 2001, leaving 357 guerrillas and 54 soldiers dead. The army seized 668 firearms from the gunmen, he added.
Adan said the gunmen had an estimated force of 640 men plus 208 firearms in Jolo and nearby islands, and 464 members with 177 firearms in Basilan island.
Last Sunday the Abu Sayyaf abducted 20 guests and staff from the Palawan resort. Their captives include American Christian missionary couple Richard and Gracia Burnham, of Kansas, who have worked in the Philippines since 1986, and Californian Guillermo Sobrero.<
May 31, 2001, INQ7 / AFP, US fighters land in Clark amid hostage crisis, 2:40 PM (Manila Time)
AMERICAN fighter jets returning to their home base in Okinawa, Japan from a military exercise in Thailand made a stopover in Clark Field, a former US air base north of Manila.
But Armed Forces spokesman Brig. Gen. Edilberto Adan, in an interview, said the presence of US F/A-18 jets, CH-53 helicopters and C-130 transport planes "is not in anyway connected with the hostage crisis." He added that the US forces were due to leave the country later Thursday.
The presence of fighter jets at Clark came amid statements by government officials that Washington had offered help in resolving the hostage crisis that developed after the Abu Sayyaf abducted three Americans and 17 Filipinos at the Dos Palmas resort in Palawan on May 27.
Adan said the US government's offer would only include exchanges of information and intelligence and would not involve any loan of weapons or troops.
"On the equipment that we will use here, we still don't know at this point. That is still being discussed on a higher level," Adan said.
The hostages were last seen heading towards the Abu Sayyaf stronghold of the Sulu islands in the southern Philippines but there was no indication they had arrived there yet, Adan said.
May 31, 2001, INQ7, Ex-Sipadan hostage asks gov't not to launch war vs Abu Sayyaf, 7:01 PM
ONE of the foreigners abducted by the Abu Sayyaf last year asked the Philippine government not to endanger the lives of the Dos Palmas hostages with an all-out war policy against the bandits.
Werner Wallert made the appeal via e-mail, according to a TV report from GMA-7. The German, his wife Renate and their son, were among the foreign hostages abducted by the Abu Sayyaf from the Sipadan island resort in Malaysia.
Wallert said that the government should not put the lives of the Dos Palmas hostages at risk. He added that Mindanao’s problems run deep and cannot simply be solved with military solutions.
Wallert added that he has not forgotten Filipino Roland Ullah, the only remaining Sipadan hostage in the hands of the Abu Sayyaf. He said that he does not believe that Ullah turned into an Abu Sayyaf sympathizer.
The administration of former President Joseph Estrada had criticized Wallert, who spoke against the government’s handling of the Sipadan crisis after his release. Wallert wrote a book, titled "Horror in Tropical Paradise" in which he slammed the government’s alleged mishandling of the hostage situation.
May 31, 2001, INQ7, Abu Sayyaf, hostages on the move in Basilan, 12:27 PM (Manila Time)
THE ABU Sayyaf and their hostages snatched from the Dos Palmas resort in Palawan are in Basilan and are constantly on the move, an INQ7.net source in Basilan said.
The source, who was able to talk with Abu Sayyaf spokesman Abu Sabaya, said that the group is unable to settle in one place due to security reasons amid the Philippine military and police’s massive operations against them.
But another group of hostages is being held in Jolo, the source said, confirming an earlier declaration by Sabaya in a radio interview.
The American hostages are still alive although as with the rest of the Filipino hostages, they are hungry and physically exhausted as they are moved around the island to escape pursuing troops, the source said.
However, Armed Forces spokesman Brig. Gen. Edilberto Adan said in a press conference this morning that they are still unsure as to the whereabouts of the Abu Sayyaf and the hostages although military operations are still ongoing.
"There are no signs that they are there," Adan said of the reported sightings in areas in Basilan, Jolo and Sulu.