MANILA, Philippines – Military officials have asked the families and owners of a plywood factory not to pay ransom to the kidnappers who abducted three employees in Basilan two weeks ago.


According to, Lt. Col. Romeo Brawner, spokesman of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, made this appeal shortly after receiving reports that the owner of the Hi-Tech Plywood factory, George Tan, had reportedly received a ransom demand of P6 million to P10 million ($128,000 to $213,000).


“If we pay ransom, this will encourage the kidnappers, to keep on abducting people," Brawner said.


Two Chinese nationals and a Filipino were snatched by armed men Nov. 10 at the premises of the factory in Maluso town. Local officials suspect that the kidnappers are members of the al-Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf Group.


Brawner said the CMC is trying to secure the freedom of the victims through negotiations. Thousands of soldiers have also been deployed to rescue the hostages.

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