DAVAO CITY – Davao del Norte provincial tourism officer Noel Daquioag admits the kidnapping of three foreigners and a Filipina Monday night in Babak District, Island Garden City of Samal will greatly affect tourism in Mindanao.
“This is not just a concern of local authorities. Concern nato ning tanan nga taga-Mindanao (This is a concern of all the people from Mindanao),” Daquioag said in a radio interview on Tuesday.
Authorities identified the victims as Kjartan Sekkingstad, a Norwegian who manages the resort’s marina, and Canadians John Ridsdel and Robert Hall. A Filipina, who was reportedly identified as “Tess” was also taken by armed men inside the Holiday Oceanview Resort.
Ridsdel in his LinkedIn account is the president of mining company TVI Minerals Processing, Inc. since April 2011. Ridsdel was also the former senior vice president and chief operating officer of TVI Resource Development, a company affiliated with Canada-based TVI Pacific Inc.
Eastern Mindanao Command’s spokesman, Captain Alberto Caber, said the suspects targeted to take the victims at around 11:23 pm. The suspects fled using a motorboat towards Pantukan area in Compostela Valley province.
Daquioag said Mindanao has been successful to “eradicate” the “war-zone image” of Mindanao.
Daquiaog said after the incidents, he is expecting foreign embassies to issue travel advisories that will affect the tourism in Davao Region particularly in Samal island.
Daquiaog said among the 679, 392 tourists who visited Samal last year, they have recorded 29, 477 foreign nationals.
Compostela Valley Province Provincial Directos Police Senior Superintendent Albert Ignatius Ferro in a radio interview with DXDE Radyo ni Juan said they have already installed checkpoints. He said they are currently conducting validation reports on the possibilities that the perpetrators “might be heading towards the coastal towns of ComVal in Maco, Mabini and Pantukan.”
As of Tuesday afternoon, Ferro said they haven’t received any information that “the speed boat used by the suspects landed in Compostela Valley.”
IGACOS Police Station Chief Police Superintendent Benedicto Frias Faco indicated in the spot report that they are coordinating with the PNP Maritime Group, Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine Navy, and Task Group Samal for follow-up operations.
Meanwhile, a handwritten note with the words “KATARUNGAN NG AMING COMMANDER by NPA” (Justice for our commander by NPA) found some 500 meters away from the site of the abduction is tagging the New People’s Army as behind the kidnapping.
In a Philippine Information Agency dispatch, Davao del Norte Provincial Police Director Police Senior Superintendent Samuel Gadingan said the note can be one of their leads, but also clarified that other armed groups might be using the net as “distraction” to their investigation.
No group has owned up in the kidnapping as of press time.
Igacos Mayor Aniano Antalan urges resort owners to heighten security measures following the abduction incident. Antalan said that there is a need to “intensify security operation in the island city” including “better training” of resort guards and installation of high definition close circuit television cameras in resorts. (davaotoday.com)