PRESIDENT Arroyo yesterday ordered the National Police and the Armed Forces to launch a massive manhunt against the Abu Sayyaf group behind the kidnapping and subsequent beheading of a school principal in Sulu.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Lorelei Fajardo said Arroyo ordered the police and the military to embark on full-stream operations to put an end to the ASG’s ‘‘heinous and inhumane atrocities’’ after the group beheaded principal Gabriel Canizares.
‘‘The death of Caniza-res will not be in vain. Rescue efforts will shift to punitive action. We still make them pay for (the) enormity of this savagery,” Fajardo said.
Arroyo also ordered concerned government agencies to extend all necessary assistance to the family of the school official.
Education Secretary Jesli Lapus strongly condemned the beheading. He said the principal was a great loss to the depart-ment’s effort to improve the deliver of basic education to the war-torn island.
“The entire Deped family is shocked and grieves with the family of one of our best-performing principals, Mr. Gabriel Canizares. He was a key catalyst in our various teacher trainings with Synergia in Sulu and he was a great loss to our efforts to improve the quality of education of our children in the area,” Lapus said.
“We condemn this heinous act against the people of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Armm). Violence creates more suffering and sabotaging education by harming teachers will have dire consequences and the attainment of peace and progress in the region,” he said.
Sulu education department supervisor Eufrenio Canaria said the beheading was a barbaric act that has no place in a civilized society.
“We are angry, very angry and at the same time, very sad for what had happened,” Canaria said.
Prof. Antonio Tinio of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) said that families and communities condemned the heinous act.
Benjo Basas, TDC president, echoed Tinio’s statement and said authorities must take decisive steps to end the kidnapping against teachers and school officials in the region.
“This is a devilish crime perpetrated against a helpless teacher. A heinous act condemnable in strongest possible terms,” Basas said.
Deped-NEU president, Domingo Alidon said teacher’s lives should be spared, adding that they were just doing their job to bring education to even the remotest corner of the country.
“Our organization condemns in the highest degree the barbarous act of the Abu Sayyaf. They should spare Deped personnel from these kidnap-for-ransom activities,” Alidon said.
He also urged the national government to end the criminal activities of the group.
Last January and March, a total of six public elementary teachers were also kidnapped by unidentified gunmen in Zambonga though they were released after several months of negotiations between the kidnappers and the local authorities. (pna)