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Abducted journalists and university professor released

(IFJ/IFEX) - The following is an IFJ media release:

Freedom for Abducted Journalists in the Philippines

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) welcomes the safe release of abducted ABN-CBS journalists Ces Drilon, Jimmy Encarnacion and Angelo Valderama, as well as university professor Octavio Dinampo, on June 17.

Drilon and her media crew were reported missing on Jolo island, Sulu archipelago, on June 8. They were reportedly abducted by the Abu Sayyaf militant organisation as they prepared to interview members of the group.

IFJ Asia-Pacific joins its affiliate, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), in acknowledging the tireless efforts of rescue teams, the military and the police to secure the safety of the abducted team.

In a press statement, the NUJP made special mention of Indanan town Mayor Alvarez Isnaji, Vice Governor Lady Anne Sahidullah and Senator Loren Legarda for their determination to secure an unconditional release.

The IFJ supports the NUJP's call for media owners and journalists alike to take this abduction as a reminder that protective measures and assessment of safety must be a high priority when media workers enter notoriously dangerous regions of the Philippines.

"Even as we welcome back our colleagues, we also urge everyone in our profession to reflect on this incident as a sober reminder of the risks we constantly face as we go about our work," the NUJP said in a statement today.

With five journalists killed in the country in 2007, the Philippines is among the most dangerous locations for practising journalists in the Asia-Pacific region.

The IFJ represents over 600,000 in 122 countries worldwide.

Updates the Drilon, Encarnacion and Valderama cases:

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