ZAMBOANGA CITY–A marine engineer, who was abducted four days ago, was rescued by government troops in a “precise military operation” against the Abu Sayyaf bandits in Basilan province Monday night.
Capt. Jo-ann Petinglay, Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) information officer, said that Laurencio Tiro was rescued at around 10:30 last night at Sitio Sasa, Barangay Basakan in Hadji Mohammad Ajul town.
Tiro is the chief engineer of M/T Tug R9 that towed Super Shuttle Roro 9, which was hijacked on March 23 by the Abu Sayyaf while sailing near Sibago Island, Hadji Mohammad Ajul, Basilan.
Super Shuttle Roro 9 plies the Cebu-General Santos route and vice versa.
Tiro was seized along with the tugboat’s captain, Aurelio Agac-ac, 49. Government troops rescued Agac-ac at dawn on Saturday, March 25, also in Barangay Basakan, Hadji Mohammad Ajul town.
Agac-ac was flown on Monday to Cebu City to be reunited with his family.
Tiro, 62, is undergoing medical checkup at Camp Navarro General Hospital in this city.
He is suffering from hypertension and has sustained wounds in his feet.
“Overall he is fine. I was able to talk to him. He is expected to be flown to Cebu City and be with his wife, who is celebrating her birthday today (March 28),” Petinglay told the Philippine News Agency..
She said Tiro earlier retired from for his job as a marine engineer, but decided to return to work after one of his children was diagnosed with cancer.
Petingaly said Tiro was rescued by the assault team composed of the 4th Special Force Battalion of the Joint Task Force Basilan and the Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team (BPAT).
“He was rescued based on the information the military gathered from Agac-ac. It was a precise military operation,” she said.
Tiro is the latest captive that was rescued by successive military operations in the island provinces of Basilan and Sulu.
A few minutes before midnight Sunday, Task Force Sulu also rescued the three remaining Malaysian sailors at Poblacion Punay in Panglima Estino, Sulu.
Earlier, the Philippine Marines also rescued two other Malaysian sailors in Sulu.
The number of kidnapped victims is now down to 28. Majority of the kidnapped victims, who are mostly Vietnamese sailors, are held in Sulu.
Maj. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., Westmincom chief, said the success of the rescue operations was made possible through the strong support of the communities and accurate intelligence operation.
Galvez said that “not a single gunfire was shot during the operations that freed the abducted victims.”
“We are constricting the movements of the Abu Sayyaf. There is a continuing effort to pressure them,” he added.