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Monday, June 9, 2008

ABS-CBN reporter, 2 camera crew reported missing in Sulu

06/10/2008 | 05:55 AM

MANILA, Philippines – ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp. on Tuesday confirmed reports that its reporter Cecilia Victoria "Ces" Oreña-Drilon and two cameramen went missing in the province of Sulu.

“Three ABS-CBN journalists Ces Drilon, Jimmy Encarnacion, and Angelo Valderama are missing in Sulu," an ABS-CBN statement released Tuesday morning said.

"All efforts are underway to find them and bring them home. Until we learn more details, ABS-CBN News requests other media to report on this matter with utmost consideration for the safety of our news team," it added.

Earlier reports said Drilon and her crew were with university professor Octavio Dinampo when armed men seized them in the village of Kulasi in the town of Maimbung.

"We received reports that the four were abducted by the Abu Sayyaf led by Albader Parad," Supt. Julasirim Kasim, Sulu's provincial police chief, said.

"There is no demand yet for ransom," Kasim said, adding that Sulu Governor Sakur Tan has already convened the Crisis Management Committee.

"Governor Sakur Tan is very worried over the safety of the victims and we are doing everything to locate them," Kasim said.

Drilon's group was staying at the Sulu State College hostel in Jolo town before they were reported missing, said police Inspector Usman Pingay.

"We don't know what really happened and why Drilon went without security to Maimbung," Pingay said.

A hotel staff said he saw Drilon leaving. "She was really in a hurry and I even asked her where they were going and Ces Drilon only replied that they would just be nearby. They never came back since Saturday," the hotel staff said.


The Mindanao People's Caucus, which is headed by Dinampo, issued a statement Sunday calling for "moral support and prayers" for the safety of their leader.

The MPC statement said Dinampo and Drilon were on their way to Maimbung when armed men flagged them down.

"We appeal to the law enforcers and the military to exhaust all peaceful and traditional methods of negotiation in working out the release of the...victims. We also call on our religious leaders from both the Christian and Muslim faiths to extend whatever possible support," the MPC statement said.

It said Dinampo is a credible and well-respected leader from Sulu and a leading peace advocate in Mindanao. He has been in the forefront of peace advocacy, good governance and relief and rehabilitation efforts in the conflict affected areas in Mindanao.

"He has been a gracious and reliable guide of many visitors to Sulu and had consistently protected his visitors even at the risk of his own life," the statement said. - GMANews.TV, with reports from Al Jacinto and Romy Elusfa