Philippine gov't rejects ransom payment to terrorists

MANILA, March 12 (Xinhua) -- The Philippine government would not allow Islamic militants holding foreign hostages to be financially rewarded for their criminal activities, a senior government official said Saturday.

Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office Undersecretaty Manuel Quezon III said the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has been coordinating with the Canadian and Norwegian governments regarding their nationals who have been in the hands of their captors in southern Philippines for six months already.

A recent video uploaded on Facebook showed the terrorists with their two Canadian, one Norwegian, and one female Filipino hostages demanding that ransom should be paid until April 8 to avoid execution of the hostages.

"Let us not forget that in general, for most countries, their policies are not to deal with terrorists, (otherwise) they would get what they want (which is) not only to sow fear but also to get financial rewards for their criminality," Quezon said.

He urged the people to remain confident in the military and the police as they handle the situation.

"And let us all say a silent prayer that these visitors to our country remain safe and that they will be rescued at the soonest possible time," the official added.

Canadian John Ridsdel and Robert Hall, Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad, and Filipino national Maritess Flor were seized by suspected members of terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group in a resort in the Island City of Samal in southern Philippines in September last year.

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