Good news from the Philippines today. Islamists roughed up, intimidated and threatened a TV news crew on Jolo island, the home turf of the al-Qaeda subsidiary Abu Sayyaf. But now they have released the entire crew.
Zamboanga City, Philippines — Islamic militants released unharmed two television journalists and a Muslim professor after holding them captive for nine days on a southern Philippine island, officials said Wednesday. ABS-CBN senior correspondent Ces Drilon, cameraman Jimmy Encarnacion and professor Octavio Dinampo were released late Tuesday in a remote village in Talipao town on Jolo Island, 1,000 kilometres south of Manila.
I do not personally know Ces Drilon, but I have worked with a lot of her colleagues, and I know she is a highly professional reporter. She was pursuing a story in the very dangerous Philippines southern islands when she was captured. Her biggest worry at the moment:
“I don’t think my office and my family would allow me to go there (Sulu) again.”
Those are also the words of a real reporter. She held a news conference in Manila after the Islamists decided to let her go on Wednesday.
“At one point, we were tied and were threatened with beheading,” a teary-eyed Drilon told a news conference upon arriving in Manila. “One time, I was talking on the cellphone with Senator (Loren) Legarda and they slapped me.”
A threat to behead you is a serious matter when the Abu Sayyaf issue it. Welcome back Ces, don’t stop reporting.