Australian Warren Rodwell was finally freed by his Abu Sayyaf captors Saturday morning in Pagadian City in Zambonga del Sur - 15 months after he was abducted and held hostage in the jungles of Western Mindanao.
Chief Supt. Generoso Cerbo, Jr., spokesman of the Philippine National Police (PNP), said Rodwell was first seen by a civilian identified as Nathaniel Tampos walking around the Pagadian Fisheries at around 1 a.m. Saturday.
"He was taken to a nearby Maritime Police station which in turn over him to the Pagadian City police station," said Cerbo.
The official said the leadership of the Pagadian City police later informed the higher authorities in Mindanao who in turn advised it to secure Rodwell until the arrival of a chopper which will fetch him.
At aroun 5:30 a.m., the helicopter arrived and transported Rodwell to a military hospital in Zamboanga City, the Camp Navarro General Hospita for a medical check up.
Local authorities who saw Rodwell said he looked frail, noting that he was even being assisted in boarding the chopper.
Rodwell was accompanied by members of the Australian Federal Police and the Deputy Ambassador of Australia in the chopper.
The helicopter arrived in Zamboanga City at around 6:30 a.m. Rodwell's medical condition is not yet available.
Rodwell, it was recalled, was kidnapped by a group of armed men in December 2011 in his house near a shoreline in Zamboanga del Sur.
He was then reportedly taken to Basilan where he was allegedly turned over to the Abu Sayyaf led by Furuji Indama. The latest report before he was freed was that he was in Sulu.
After several months of being transferred to various small groups of Abu Sayyaf, his captors released a short video clip posted in social media where he was seen appealing for assistance for his freedom.
While the ASG has been demanding $2 million for his release, it was not clear as of yesterday whether or not ransom was paid.
Rodwell, it was learned, has been in and out of the country after marrying a Filipina where they settled in a seaside residence in Zamboanga peninsula.
The release of Rodwell came a few days after a Malaysian captive, kidnapped in Tawi-tawi 17 months ago, was also freed by the Abu Sayyaf.