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    Captors release kidnapped DSWD personnel

    Unidentified armed men abducted 3 Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) workers and their companion in Sulu on Thursday, police said.

    Chief Supt. Noel delos Reyes, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) police regional director, said the other victim is a spouse of one of the DSWD employees.

    The abduction happened after the victims, who have yet to be named, went to Barangay Upper Sinumaan in Talipao, Sulu, to hold a survey on the government’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.

    They were returning to Jolo, Sulu, when armed men took them.

    A source said the victims were being escorted by a relative of a barangay captain.

    However, only the 4 were taken at gunpoint.

    Two kidnapped DSWD personnel were released by their captors in Sulu on Saturday, July 19, authorities said.

    The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao-Bureau of Public Information (ARMM-BPI) said the couple were released by their captors at the vicinity of Barangay Danag in the town of Patikul on Sunday noon.

    The victims then hiked until they reached the area of Dan Puti in Barangay Tugas, authorities said.

    The Sicangcos were brought by their relatives to the house of the town’s vice mayor and then transported to the hospital for medical examination.

    Jurah was earlier released by the kidnappers on Friday in Tubig Lanut, Barangay Danag, the ARMM-BPI said.

    Meanwhile, Saputalo is still taken captive by the rebels, the authorities reported.

    Initial investigations show that the perpetrators are members of the Abu Sayyaf group and are after the ransom money.

    It is still unclear if those who were released paid ransom for their freedom.

    The DSWD expressed its worry over the abduction of their personnel and is hoping for the safe release of the remaining captive.

    Social Welfare secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman said their staff were on the area to validate family beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program beneficiaries and to check the coordination for the PAyapa at MAsaganang PamayaNAn (PAMANA) Program.

    “We are praying earnestly in this Holy Month of Ramadan for compassion. Our colleagues from DSWD-ARMM are only doing their duty to help the poor people of Talipao – their brothers and sisters in Islam,” Soliman said.

    Combined Sources: ABS CBN, Rappler