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Azurin tells PNP-AKG: Adapt to evolving kidnapping threats

February 19, 2023 Alfred P. Dalizon 443 views

AzurinPHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) chief, General Rodolfo S. Azurin Jr. has called on the PNP Anti-Kidnapping Group headed by Brigadier Gen. Rodolfo D. Castil Jr. to invest more on training, technology and strategic partnership as it continues to battle evolving kidnapping-for-ransom threats.

“Looking forward, let us continue to evolve and adapt to the changing landscape of security challenges by investing in training and technology to enhance the capabilities of our operatives; improving our intelligence gathering and analysis capabilities; and strengthening partnerships with external stakeholders and other law enforcement agencies,” the top cop said during the 11th founding anniversary of the PNP-AKG last week.

Gen. Azurin recognized the unwavering efforts and strengthened operational capabilities of the AKG as the primary unit of the PNP responsible for conducting police operations and investigations against kidnapping perpetuated by organized crime and terrorist groups in our country.

He emphasized that over the past 11 years, the PNP-AKG has established itself as a leading force in the fight against kidnapping with its determined officers having been able to rescue countless kidnapping-for-ransom victims apart from neutralizing notorious kidnappers or putting them to jail.

“However, it is important to acknowledge that there are still hurdles to overcome. Kidnapping continues to pose a danger in some communities as culprits constantly devise new methods to carry out their crimes,” Gen. Azurin said.

Records showed that in 2022, the PNP-AKG launched 17 rescue operations which led to the safe recovery of 59 victims and neutralization of nine KFR gangs following the arrest of 33 of their leaders and members.

Among the PNP-AKG’s notable accomplishments last year was a successful rescue operation in Angeles City, Pampanga or during the height of the major issue raised about POGO-related crime incidents.

The September 14, 2022 operation led to the rescue of 43 Chinese nationals and the closure of the raided POGO establishment. The PNP-AKG said the rescued victims were forced to work at the Lucky South 99 POGO Company located along Fil-Am Friendship Highway in Angeles City.

Most of the times, the Chinese nationals were found to be held against their will and subjected to torture or heavy beatings if they failed do their tasks well. One of the victims identified as Wu Jia Ming was also asked to produce a P1 million ransom for his safe releasee triggering the operation which led to the arrest of Chen Yi Ben alias ‘Ayi,’ a 33-year old Chinese national found to be acting as a human resource manager of the raided establishment.

Another major AKG operation took place on June 14, 2022 as its operatives conducted a follow-up operation against suspects involved in the kidnapping-for-ransom of Mark and Morris Lu in Manila. The two victims were released by the kidnappers in Famy, Laguna after reportedly paying a hefty ransom.

Following the victims’ release, the PNP-AKG launched a follow-up operation that resulted in a gunbattle in Pililla, Rizal which left two heavily-armed kidnappers dead. However, a brave AKG operative named Corporal Joshua Linggayo, a native of Tabuk City, Kalinga was shot by one of the kidnappers. The Igorot warrior died after nine days in the hospital. He was only 22.

Gen. Azurin likewise congratulated the PNP-AKG for arresting 200 wanted persons in the country, 79 of them included in the Department of Interior and Local Government’s (DILG) list of most wanted persons. Majority of the lawbreakers sent to jail by AKG agents were facing criminal charges with a bail not lower than P100,000.

The PNP-AKG also contributed well in the PNP’s efforts to account for illegal weapons that could be used to commit violence in the streets in 2022. The year saw the unit accounting for 90 loose firearms, 596 assorted live ammunition and three explosives.

The AKG Visayas Field Unit also facilitated the surrender of a finance and logistics officer and a courier of the New People’s in 2022.

Gen. Azurin called on the men and women of the PNP-AKG to remain vigilant and keep their strategies and tactics ahead of criminal elements. “As your Chief PNP, I have faith in the capabilities of each one of you and as a unit. Your dedication, bravery, and expertise in handling complex cases have been a source of pride for all Filipinos,” he said.

Last week, the PNP chief awarded officers and men of the PNP-AKG for their successful role in fighting kidnapping-for-ransom in the country.

The top cop was joined by former PNP-AKG directors, retired Police Major Gen. Isagani R. Nerez, now the Presidential Assistant on Police Affairs and retired Brig. Gen. Renato Gumban in presenting plaques of appreciation to the outstanding AKG personnel and other stakeholders.

The top awardees were Lieutenant Colonels Lee Allen B. Bauding, Regina N. Basco and Lowelber L. Ceralvo, Captain Benito P. Peralta Jr., Major Mark Anthony D. Sarno, Maj. Wilbert C. Padngaran Jr. and Lt. Zosimo C. Ravanes Jr.

Others include Police Executive Master Sergeant Jackson A. Olya-on, Staff Sgt. Jayson A. Cabradilla, SSgt. Marianne B. Luyun, Master Sgt. Noel B. Raquem, PEMS Franco C. Aguilar, MSgt. Clint William S. Ferrer Jr., MSgt. Marian M. Barbosa, Patrolwoman Angelia A. Alo, MSgt. Marcelo P. Talidtid Jr. and PEMS Bonifacio L. Musil.

Stakeholders and civilian awardees who were also awarded were Colonel Renato B. Ocampo, Army Maj. Anthony Bongbong A. Albuera, Department of Justice Prosecutor General Benedictor A. Malcontento,

Movement for Restoration of Peace and Order chairman Melvin Dy and the PNP-AKG Advisory Group chaired by Professor Liana M. Barro with members, Architect Ka Kuen Chua, DOJ Prosecutors Olivia L. Torrevillas and Ma. Lourdes C. Uy, Mr. Dennis P. Hipolito and Ms. Cecily M. Chua Lim.

Gen. Azurin lauded the PNP-AKG for a job well done in fighting kidnapping-for-ransom gangs in the country amid the new normal.

“The impressive significant accomplishments of the PNP-AKG is something that the PNP organization is proud off. You stood up and showed to the community that they can count on us always,” the top cop said.

Also a former anti-kidnapping officer from the defunct Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force headed by former PNP chief and Senator Panfilo ‘Ping’ Lacson, the official said he knows how it feels to be a member of the group.

He said that once a kidnapping group strikes, PNP-AKG officers and men would rise from their bed, forget they are on an official vacation and leave their loved ones just to make sure they would be able to rescue the victim alive and get his/her kidnappers.

DILG Secretary Benjamin ‘Benhur’ C. Abalos Jr. also commended the PNP-AKG for their feat.

“This year, as you celebrate another year of success, we challenge and encourage you to continue buckling up, strive harder and always choose to do the right thing and uphold the core values of being a law enforcer especially in your anti-kidnapping operations,” the DILG chief said.