Cecilia Victoria "Ces" Oreña-Drilon - Missing in Sulu

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang on Tuesday said it was praying for the safety of the group of broadcast journalist Cecilia Victoria "Ces" Oreña-Drilon and professor Octavio Dinampo who have been reported missing in Sulu province.

Two cameramen - Jimmy Encarnacion and Angelo Valderama - were with the group.

"We hope for her (Drilon) safety and that of her crew. Likewise, we appeal for caution and restraint in media reportage so as not to unduly hamper efforts to rescue them," said outgoing Presidential Spokesman Ignacio Bunye.

In a statement sent earlier in the day, ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp. confirmed that Drilon and her two cameramen were missing in Sulu.

"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," the statement said.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, on the other hand, condemned the abduction of the three journalists in Sulu on Sunday.

"We are deeply concerned for the safety of these three journalists," Bob Dietz, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator, said.

"It is great cause for concern that this volatile southern region of the Philippines remains insecure for the press, and we call on local authorities to work diligently to secure their safe and swift release," he added.

MILF offer

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), for its part, offered to monitor the whereabouts of Drilon's group and work for their release as well.

The MILF said a special group had been formed for the task, headed by an MILF political officer the group did not identify.

Jun Mantawil, head of the MILF peace panel secretariat, said the group has so far learned that Drilon's group were kidnapped by an Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Gafur Gumbahali in Kulasi village in Maimbung town Sunday morning.

The report said Gafur is the brother of Abu Sayyaf leader Dr. Abu Jumdail Gumbahali. - GMANews.TV
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