Don’t pay to free Canadian hostages due for beheading, Philippines pleads

MANILA - The Philippines is asking Canada to let its people be executed. Or at least call the bluff of ISIS-linked terror thugs who've threatened to behead a pair of kidnapped Canadians next Monday.

The country says refusing to pay a ransom, as demanded by the Abu Sayyaf terror group, is the only way to stop Philippines' thriving kidnap "industry."

"The armed forces continues to encourage everyone to observe the government's no ransom policy," Philippine military spokesman Brig.-Gen. Restituto Padilla told reporters.

He said the military wanted to "discourage this kind of growing industry" and cut off funds that would ultimately strengthen the rebels.

Gunmen kidnapped Robert Hall, 50, and John Ridsdel, 68, from the upscale Oceanview resort on Samal island last September.

They are believed to be held in the jungle on Jolo island, a stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf group, which is known for bombs, beheadings and kidnappings.

The group is believed to be holding dozens of other captives, asking for similar ransoms.

In the latest video released of Ridsdel and Hall, the haggard Canadians are seen begging for a ransom of 300 million pesos -- $8.3 million -- for each man, as the terrorists set a deadline of April 25.

With knives at their throats, they tell the camera they will be beheaded if the money isn't paid.

"We are very, very concerned about the situation of our nationals," Neil Reeder, Canada's ambassador to the Philippines, told reporters in Manila.

"We are doing our best for their safety and security and we hope that they'll be safe and sound and released very soon."

He didn't indicate what kind of efforts were being taken to free the men.

A Taiwan firm has reportedly indicated it was planning to pay to free 10 Indonesians held by the rebels.

A combined 18 crew from Indonesia and Malaysia have been taken captive in three separate attacks on tugboats in Philippine waters close to maritime borders with the two countries.

The Philippines rarely publicizes ransom payments and officials sometimes refer to them euphemistically as "board and lodgings". 

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