Malacañang reiterates commitment to rescue remaining hostages from Abu Sayyaf

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Malacañang reiterates commitment to rescue remaining hostages from Abu Sayyaf

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MANILA, May 5 (PNA) — The Palace has reiterated its commitment to rescue the remaining hostages being held by the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).

According to reports, the group has circulated online a video showing the beheading of Canadian John Ridsdel last week. The ASG has also released a video of the remaining three captives pleading to the Canadian and Philippine governments to meet the group’s demands.

Addressing the latest threat, Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said on Wednesday that President Benigno S. Aquino III, in a statement last week, vowed that the “full resources of the State are being brought down on the ASG.”

“Our primary objective is to rescue the hostages and ensure the safety of our civilian population,” Secretary Coloma quoted the President as saying.

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“We have always believed in the power of dialogue, development, and positive engagement over arms. But we will always act from a position of strength. So, to the ASG, and whoever may aid or abet them, you have chosen only the language of force, and we will speak to you only in that language. We will not stop until the threat they pose to our communities is ended,” the President has said.

The group is still holding Canadian Robert Hall, Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad, and Filipina Maritess Flor, who along with Ridsdel were kidnapped from a resort in Samal Island last September.

The authenticity of the 52-second footage on Ridsdel‘s beheading, released on Tuesday, has not been verified. (PNA)

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