Some 20 Abu Sayyaf surrendered in Sumisip on 22 September. Four people were arrested. Abu Sayyaf fatalities then increased to , with seven more apprehended. Early on 26 November , Duterte stated that he would open peace talks with Abu Sayyaf group as he did with the MNLF and MILF by offering federalism as a possible solution  while continuing to fight against the Maute group ,  a move criticised by Philippine analysts as it would be used by extreme rebels to claim for legitimacy as a group. I can bomb more if I want to.
At the end of the day, what can I say to the Filipino? Even those not connected with the violence now? Either we talk, if you want autonomy or if you want something else, federalism, I am ready. I am committed to a federalism set-up to appease the Moro. His statements were criticised by national media as leading to a confusion whether he wanted peace talks. In the aftermath of the Jolo Cathedral bombings , President Duterte ordered an "All-Out-War" directive against the Abu Sayyaf Group, which led to heavy ground operations, massive airstrikes, artillery bombardment in surrounding areas, the evacuation of civilian in other areas, and the creation of the 11th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the Filipino Islamist group. For individuals known as Abu Sayyaf and other uses, see Abu Sayyaf disambiguation. Other combatants:. Main article: Timeline of Abu Sayyaf attacks. See also: Dos Palmas kidnappings.
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The Manila Times. Retrieved 23 August The Straits Times. Retrieved 2 March Admissions Financial Matters Campus. Academic Calendar Library. Student Activities Intercultural Engagement Orientation. Centre for Teaching and Learning. Writers' Centre. Working with ABS-CBN and Gabby Lopez reminded me of the cycles of history, the excesses and failures of power, and the role journalists play in curbing human ambitions and building a nation.
Although she can sometimes be tactless, she says it like it is and possesses a sharp editorial mind. It also became a training ground for investigative reporters and producers in our industry. Behind Luchi, Libby walked in. One of the things I always wanted to avoid was to treat people like numbers, a danger in large organizations. Libby never did that because she never hid behind her authority and posi- tion. Close on her heels, Charie rushed in and started speaking as soon as she entered. I told her not to go.
Nine years later, she moved to Reuters. CNN was a Reuters client, and Charie often did advance work for me — giving me video and information before I landed in the Philippines on breaking news stories.
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Logistically, she is among the quickest to react on any story. So you heard? Sorry I missed your call. She pulled out her cellphone and texted her assistant to bring her recorder. Energy levels were too high. Nervous tension, I guess. It was most evident in Charie.
Glenda and Marites came in. It had taken me two years to recruit Glenda, an experienced newsroom man- ager and multi-awarded journalist who values independence. Revolutions and transitions shaped her temperament making her slow to boil and addicted to adrenaline. In the early s, she co-founded investiga- tive newsmagazine, Newsbreak, with Marites.
Highly principled, Glenda lives her values and was turning out to be the best manager ANC ever had. Marites, also a multi-awarded journalist, had written several books and fought many lawsuits from power players she held accountable. I need as many names as you can remember and we can trace.
She placed it at the center of the circular table. Although I was dubious about the effort, I wanted to know more. She started to talk, going back 1 The following conversation is transcribed from the digital recording of our first crisis meeting on Monday, June 9, Since then, Charie said she spoke with him at least five times on the telephone. Ces kept pushing me. Just to Indanan. It happened five days ago. Are you thinking about your sons? Luchi, her glasses at the tip of her nose, looked at the phone with Charie. At this point, their sentences began to quickly overlap, and their voices began to rise in volume — although still controlled.
I made a mental note that Luchi was already keeping track of possible vulner- abilities for our news group. Hataman is a former Congressman from Basilan, the birthplace of the Abu Sayyaf. His mentor was Wahab Akbar, a founder of the Abu Sayyaf who turned to politics, serving three terms as Basilan governor before getting elected to Congress. Akbar was one of four people killed by a bomb outside the congressional buildings in Mujiv Hataman was implicated in the bombing, although the charges were eventually dropped.
Dinampo texts me. Then I called Ces. You can say that again! Luchi had recently discovered that peppermint tea relaxed her, and she asked him to buy it before she came to my office. When we realized what she got, we all ordered peppermint tea. Some tension dissipated as we laughed, gave orders and looked for cash to give Ed.
It was nice to think peppermint tea could relieve our stress. For a while, it seemed like any normal day, but it only lasted a few minutes. Charie picked up where she left off. Then I called Maria. The people are different now! This guy is respectable. If we get Radullan Sahiron, Ces goes live from Jolo. So I called up Glenda just to make sure we all agreed, and I woke up Glenda. Very good! The running joke is that Glenda only watches her channel, ANC.
Charie interrupted. We responded nearly simultaneously. Ces was texting Charie until late Saturday evening. So Charie texted Jimmy and Angel. Neither responded. Charie was scrolling through her cellphone, and it seemed like there was nothing else until early Monday morning. We needed to finish the timeline. Glenda was reading over her shoulders. By now, our meeting was increasingly punctuated by the ringing of our phones. Glenda and Marites were getting calls from other journalists asking about Ces.
Other sources within the police and military were calling us. At one point, Charie picked up a call from Brian Yamsuan, who works for Sec. Ronaldo Puno, the head of the Department of Interior and Local Government, which controls the police. It was only 10 a. I took out my outline and told them about our different stakeholders and began giving assignments. We have to go to their houses. Libby, can you handle the families of Jimmy and Angel?
I called Gabby and spoke briefly with Charo. At this point, she had just become the newly appointed president of our network. Maybe a general assembly in the newsroom this afternoon once we know more. We have to brief our editorial team. Also once you walk out the door be careful what you tell our reporters. Remember the past kidnappings? Ask for a hour embargo. You mean the embargo? Look: Marites, Glenda and I wrote the books people are using as references. We can do this! We go local. Can you call the Inquirer? The more time we can get to work quietly, the better.
Also, please get information. What do people know and where are they getting it from? I opened the door and called my assistant and handed her the recorder. Can you get Mario and tell him to come as soon as he can? Oh, you already called him? He walked in. I wanted to do this in the most humane manner possible and send people from our team who knew them personally.
I also needed to know about possible legal liabilities so Mario outlined pos- sible dangers. After they left, I made the call to the Inquirer. Can you please embargo any story about them until we send a release to you? Is that possible? Well, I think Ces asked to bring some food for lunch. Has anything gone wrong? Have they been kidnapped? An embargo would help. I ticked off what we had done. I sat down at my computer and began to write the statement we would release.
I felt light-headed as I punched the speakerphone.
The biggest question I had now is do we admit they were kidnapped publicly? Doing that would bring a rush of other questions. Who kidnapped them? Are they asking for ransom? Are we going to pay? These are questions I would need to be able to answer. It would also set all the armed groups and factions in Jolo looking for the kidnappers, perhaps even try to ambush them for a share of the ransom. Tell the truth that we can tell. I wanted to emphasize the uncertainty of the situation and our concern for the safety of our team. My cellphone rang.
I looked at the caller number and picked up on the first ring. It was Quidato. He can brief your people about what will happen next. Yes, of course. Will he negotiate? Who negotiates in situations like this? Who do you trust? How about the family? The family?
I remembered this from an FBI briefing many years ago. I made a note to ask him about it later. Can one of them negotiate? We can check. We can brief everyone then. Winnie, reporters are calling. Can you please ask the police not to make any statements? Who have you told? Let me check. Will be there soon. See you soon. What did you tell them? Luchi, Charie, Glenda and Marites are talking to the news groups now and asking them to hold the story till early tomorrow morning.
Please check with them and talk to the journalists you know well. I also asked that he set up a team to monitor media reports. I asked him what he thought we should say. He gave some ideas. I was typing as he was talking and incorporated his ideas with mine. All efforts are underway to find them and bring them home.
Until we learn more details, ABS-CBN News requests other media to report on this matter with utmost consideration for the safety of our news team. I hoped that if no one gave concrete information — if there was no one to be quoted — there would be no story until after the checkpoints are up. I knew it was wishful thinking even then. That was when I saw Quidato walking in the newsroom, and I got up to greet him as Bong left.
I called Glenda, and together, we briefed Quidato on what we had done and the chronology we had put together. Doing some- thing so concrete restored my confidence, and it felt good that we were piecing pieces of the puzzle together.
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Quidato told us about what he thought would happen next and what we would need to prepare for. We agreed. Charie came running into my office. She was holding her phone in front of her, and it was ringing loudly. I looked at Quidato, and he nodded. I looked at Glenda. Then it stopped. My phone started ringing. It was Ces. Can you do that? Otherwise, the kidnappers threatened to tie up both men. With his heart pounding, Angel moved away from Ces and looked for Jimmy to tell him the bad news. Ces sat down next to Dinampo and told him what had happened: they had been kidnapped. Part of her wondered about him.
After all, he was per- sistent in bringing them here, and they seemed to treat him differently. By that time, Angel had already spoken with Jimmy, whose face turned pale when he heard the news. Still, Jimmy continued what he had been doing since the walk began. He was secretly recording video of the walk, the men and the situation, telling his guards he was merely cleaning the camera.
He had a camera and would document what they were living through. The discomfort lasted a few seconds, and then the mood shifted. Several of the men began packing. One of them came with three fatigue army jackets and handed them to Ces, Jimmy and Angel. They put the jackets on and began to walk. The sun was moving up in the sky, the sweltering heat prompting many to shed layers, including — for the ABS team — the jackets they were given.
The group passed through areas where people lived, and Jimmy noticed their guards would talk to people they passed, particularly their elders, whom they greeted respectfully. Angel whispered to Jimmy about the playing children they passed. After a few hours, they walked up a hill with a beautiful moun- tain stream that was feeding a bamboo open waterpipe system. The air seemed cooler. The sound of the water flowing through the bamboo was soothing. The group decided to stop and rest. The armed men knelt and prayed. Jimmy and Angel sat on the side: Jimmy protectively covered his camera.
After prayers, some of the men came over. How much longer will we walk? They were kidnapped by a lost com- mand. Around this time Angel and Jimmy noticed that the Commander and some of his men were talking to Ces on one side. They had given her back her cellphone. By that point, because he seemed like the informal leader and was actually leading the group during the hikes, the ABS team nicknamed him Commander Putol, literally translating to Commander Broken. Ces tried to bargain more until she felt the mood shift slightly.
She noticed that some of the men were making fun of the Commander, and she realized that he was a decoy. The real leader of the group is Commander Putol, but he was using a decoy. No answer. Then she tried my cellphone. Finally, she called Glenda. I got up and came from behind my desk to the circular table where Glenda was sit- ting. Quidato moved his chair closer. My heart was pounding fast.
I brought my notebook. Glenda took my pen and wrote: what do I say? I wrote: stall. I looked at Quidato. He nodded. It meant nothing to me. I showed it to Quidato, and he shrugged his shoulders. Of course, it could just be a pseu- donym. It gave us absolutely no leads. I looked at my watch. A little after a. Was Luchi right? Were we in over our heads? The minute I thought that, I pushed it aside. I felt confident because it seemed my whole career prepared me for this. I know the feeling of being in a life and death situation — half scared, half excited. To make the right choices, you need to get clarity, which allows you to think and respond faster.
You get that by draining emotions. I leaned on those lessons from the past. I also knew what made Luchi uncomfortable. We crossed a line. We were no longer journalists, and the past few hours made that clear to me. We were acting — shaping events, but we needed to do that in order to get our people home.
What do we say? After all, the bottom line is money. The rest are logisti- cal details: choosing the right negotiator with a private army and local law enforcement to make sure they get from the jungle to civilization. My instinct is to agree, but the context pulled me back. Both major networks had dealt with this before. Still, I felt we had to publicly stick to a no-ransom policy. That phone call turned out to be a pivotal moment when ransom was set.
Ces was panicking, pressured by her kidnappers to deliver P20 million. Even having her do the negotiations was a stroke of brilliance because it meant we had no other voice to trace and identify. In the beginning, I hoped we would be able to pinpoint specific people. I remembered the kid- nappings in Basilan when Muslim vigilantes in turn kidnapped the children of the kidnappers.
Knowing the kidnappers opened possibilities for action not that we would do that , but with Ces speaking, we had fewer leads. She had written a cellphone number that Ces had given her. Quidato copied it. When she left, I felt drained, but the door had barely closed when Luchi came in. I have to call Gabby. Also, can you look at this statement I gave Bong? Quidato nodded.
Luchi and I tried to comfort her, telling her people are rely- ing on us to be strong. Perhaps I made a mistake in asking her to speak to the family, but she knew them personally, and I thought that would help the family. I hugged her and told her it would be okay. Are you going to pick up the family? Where are her kids? Her son is my godson! I punched the speakerphone. She stopped working to take care of them. Rushell readily agreed to come to the office. On their way back, Libby called to ask where she should bring the fami- lies. I asked for a brief description of the wives, looking to see if any can help negotiate.
I wanted to know how they were reacting. During the destruction of East Timor in , I saw how quickly fear spread through the group of journalists staying together in a small hotel. Our team was able to avoid it a little longer because we set up our own house separate from the pack. It cemented in my mind that fear and negative emotions are highly conta- gious so I thought at this point, until I met them myself, it was better to keep them in separate rooms.
Her mother scolded Charie in the newsroom, prompting her to run in quickly and tell me about it. Charie looked shell-shocked. Slim and petite, year-old Grace Orena is a successful businesswoman with an air of understated confidence. Everyone called her Grech. The middle child, she seemed happy to take a supporting role around her more flamboyant sisters, Ces and Joyce, a former fashion model. The president and founder of a human resources company, Grech focuses on people — having developed more than 30 workshops and trained more than 16, people.
Except I would learn this much later, long after I marveled at her literal grace under pressure. Without knowing her back- ground, I watched her demeanor and thought she would make a good negotiator. By that time, Ces had called her family and spoken with her mom and son, Andre. They said Ces was crying and apologizing profusely. I asked them to have lunch while Quidato and I met with Iglesia, who arrived around p. His nickname is Wed because he was born on Wednesday — or so he tells the story.
However, his daily contact with extreme situa- tions sometimes makes him insensitive. I asked Iglesia about his experience and his thoughts about our situation. About halfway through, Gabby Lopez came in. I introduced the two officers to our CEO, then walked with Gabby to quickly update him on how events were moving and the brewing plans. When I returned, Iglesia asked if he could brief the families on what would happen in the coming days.
I asked our corporate head of HR, Mark Nepomuceno, to sit with them and give an assessment of the briefing next door. While that was happening, Quidato and I went over the options in front of us — as well as clarifying how we would deal with the government, inter- agency potential conflicts and the media. If this Abu Sayyaf leader is verified, we would need a different tactic. I asked Quidato if we could tighten commu- nication leaks. This only showed me the level of disinformation during times like these are extremely high, largely because law enforcement officers who speak do so prematurely and without central coordination.
As a reporter looking for information, I loved this lax system. Officials speak for a combi- nation of reason, partly personal, partly professional. Still, once we were the victims and the chances for a safe return were jeopardized by small mistakes like this, it made me wonder why clear lines of crisis communication had not been established as a matter of policy — both to protect the institution and the victims. I want the families to be there with us. Can you talk to them and see how many want to go? Wait, how about the Discovery Suites in Ortigas? We used to stay there with CNN, and they have complete apartments.
Maybe at least two floors? What else? My watch said p. We walked out to an impromptu meeting in the middle of the newsroom. There was a somber mood. I briefed our journalists off-the-record and talked about the lines we would draw between the crisis team and the news group, which would be led by Luchi. I explained the need for the embargo, talking to them about past kidnappings I had seen.
At least two people who worked closely with Ces, Jimmy and Angel had tears in their eyes. I took questions for about 20 minutes, then signaled for Luchi to take over. They were moving into crunch time for our primetime newscast. When I walked into my office, Libby had already assembled the families. Glenda and Charie also joined us.
I asked them how they were doing, and some started to cry. I started talking — telling them about the situation, what I knew of past kidnappings, what we had done and what we are plan- ning to do. Sensing their helplessness, the enormity of the situation hit me again. I asked them how their briefing with the police went.
I told them it would be best if one of the family members negotiated. I asked if anyone wanted to volunteer. No one did. Finally, I talked about how I wanted us to all be together as we lived through the crisis.
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I told them I wanted them to see what we were doing so they understand and are part of the decisions we make. All of them agreed to move to Discovery Suites tonight. I also warned them about controlling their emotions, mentioning that panic and fear would only cloud our collective judgment. I told them that we would choose a local negotiator by this even- ing and said one of us — either Charie or myself — would go to Jolo to decide on that critical factor.
I realized how difficult it is to ask someone else to go to Jolo under these circumstances. The same would go for anyone in corpo- rate, and if anything were to happen to that envoy, I would be responsible. While I was speaking, I made the call that it would be easier to do it myself and said so. In my head, I started preparing what I would need to do — to balance security with efficiency. I would ask Quidato to go with me. It was a little after 5 p. It was the first time I met him, and I liked him. He walked in and started speaking to us in my office, reassuring the families that the police would work with them and with ABS-CBN.
I looked around the room. They were listening, but I could see fear in their eyes.
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When the briefing was done, Iglesia and Libby stayed with the families to answer questions. This was the time we took stock of where we are and what we would need to do. He said they wanted to meet with me. I said of course and we set the date. To me, this was an issue of trust. The research and the work I did in writing about Jemaah Islamiyah showed me the police had better intelligence and stock knowledge about groups like the MILF and the Abu Sayyaf. They also handled kidnappings.
The military, on the other hand, had deep experience in Jolo with its armed groups and part- nership with the U. Special Forces. Inter-agency rivalry meant the military had more up-to-date knowledge about the Abu Sayyaf than the police. Still, I made the call and agreed. The police would take the lead.
When I walked into the news- room, the studio lights were on, and the room was humming with energy. I stopped for a second and looked around, trying to absorb some of its energy. Everything had a different sheen today. Again, I said a silent prayer before I opened the door to my office. Grech and Libby were sitting at the small, round conference table. You seem the best for this now, particularly since Ces is talking for the kidnappers. When can he join us? Can you please send someone else to Jolo?