By Teofilo P. Garcia, Jr
ZAMBOANGA CITY, July 12 (PNA) – The Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) on Sunday released the volunteer teacher they kidnapped more than four months ago in the province of Zamboanga Sibugay, a top military official disclosed Sunday.
Col. Alan Arrojado, Joint Task Group Sulu commander, identified the released kidnapped victim as Russel Bagunoc, 22, of Barangay Moalboal, Talusan, Zamboanga Sibugay.
Arrojado said Bagunoc was released around 12:10 p.m. Sunday at the town proper of Jolo, the capital of Sulu, “and subsequently turned over by a concerned citizen” to the 2nd Marine Brigade headquarters in Camp Bautista, Barangay Busbus, Jolo.
Arrojado said the release of Bagunoc was due to the continued and intensified law enforcement operation against the ASG, which pressured them freed the hostage volunteer teacher.
He said Bagunoc has immediately undergone medical checkup at the Camp Bautista Station Hospital followed by a debriefing.
Bagunoc is a volunteer kindergarten teacher in Barangay Tuburan, Talusan, Zamboanga Sibugay.
He was kidnapped together with his elder sister, Reynadeth Silvano, 34, also a teacher, in the morning of March 5, 2015 in the vicinity of Moalboal Elementary School.
Bagunoc was driving a motorcycle with Silvano, 34, as back rider en route to Tuburan Elementary School when flagged down and seized by gunmen believed to have ties with the ASG.
Silvano was released on May 14, this year, after the family reportedly paid P350,000 ransom. (PNA)