“No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press... (Sec. 4, 1987 Philippine Constitution)”
BONGAO, TAWI-TAWI, Philippines/06 February 2012—The wildlife photographer from Davao City who escaped from his abductors in Tawi-Tawi, expresses regret not just on the plight of his two foreign colleagues who remain in the hands of their captors, but on the tarnished image of Tawi-Tawi brought about by the incident.
Ivan Sarenas, who still is in Tawi-Tawi, hopes that European nationals Elwold Horn of Holland and Lorenzo Vinciguerre of Switzerland would be released by the Abu Sayyaf Group, their abductors.
“Tinulungan ko lang sila to get there. I’m doing as much as I can to prepare for their safe return,” he said. The victims are still believed to be in Languyan Island.
Sarenas further laments that the incident has stained the image of Tawi-Tawi, which is a paradise for nature-lovers, and those who wish to study marine resources and other fauna.
“The number of species that you can find are unusually high in Tawi-Tawi, and it is unfortunate that this (abduction) incident is going to mar the image of the province. There are a lot of undiscovered places in Tawi-Tawi, and they are scenic,” said Sarenas.
While there is a very huge room for scientific research in the islands, Tawi-Tawi is also known to have oil underneath its seawaters. To an American who declined to be identified, “This is very sad, because much as it has been identified as an economically disadvantaged province, it is actually the richest in resources in the Philippines.” (NM/TPSA)
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