Manobo tribesmen agrees to release two hostages in exchange for food and water — PNP

MANILA, Philippines – Manobo tribesmen holding a group of teachers as hostages in an upland village in Agusan del Norte have agreed on Monday for the permanent release of two of their captives in exchange for food, medicines and water.

At the same time, PNP chief, Director General Raul Bacalzo flew to Prosperidad town in Agusan del Norte to personally assess, oversee and supervise the on-going negotation for the release of the hostages.

The two hostages, Hipolito Lastimado and Diosdado Cabantac were released by their captors last Sunday afternoon on the condition that they will return back with food, medicines and water for the captors and other hostages.

But, the two were permanently released after the hostage takers agreed to suggestion that one of their relatives will be the one the bring back to their lair food, water and medicines, PNP spokesman, Chief Supt. Agrimero Cruz Jr., said.

“A negotiation was made to the hostage-takers that instead of the two, a relative of the hostage takers will be the one to bring food and medicines which they had agreed upon,” Cruz said quoting reports from the Caraga police.

The PNP spokesman added that the PNP Chief, General Bacalzo, was already in Agusan del Sur to help in the negotiation and resolved the hostage crisis, which have entered on its fourth day on Monday.

The hostage takers, composed of Manobo tribesmen, led by Toto Navarro and Illad Perez were earlier demanding for the release of their fellow tribesman, Ondo Perez and two others in exchange for the release of their hostage.

Perez, a former member government militiaman, was arrested in December 2009 after his group held hostage some 79 local residents who were eventually released following hours of tension filled negotiations.

The school teachers and education offcials were seized by the heavily armed tribesman led by Toto Navarro and Ilad Perez on late Friday afternoon after the group stormed a makeshift school compound in the area. Anthony Vargas

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