Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  

Tips to Improve Your Chances of Surviving a Terrorist Attack

Recommended Posts


The reason I started this thread was because I felt it may be beneficial to those living or visiting the Philippines. Unfortunately the threat of becoming a victim of a kidnapping or a terrorist attack exists throughout this country. The groups in the south have plans to carry out kidnappings and armed attacks outside of Mindanao and have done so in the past. It's just a matter of time before a Mumbai style attack or another raid on a resort takes place and it could happen anywhere. I would go as far as to say that the threat is imminent. 

I didn't start this thread to be controversial, but to give people some ideas on how to be better prepared and possibly come out of such an event alive. 

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

If I am with my GF at the time, then it's more about keeping her alive as along as I can, and if that means cooperating, then so be it. 

However, if I am by myself or they just take me... I will instantly be surveying the land and my surroundings and calculating a point of fight. I sure as hell will want to take as many with me as possible, and if they live, leave them missing some body part, or having it be severely damaged... something to remember me by.  I hope I never have to deal with this scenario... but at this point in my life, I am not afraid to die, much better than being a hostage who will probably never be saved.

  • Like 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, USMC-Retired said:

Topics like this make me wonder.  If you are a person that needs a check list like this to help you to survive a terrorist attack against you.  I would highly suggest avoiding areas where that opportunity may present itself.  

Well it's very simple. If you feel there is a big risk? Avoid the country altogether. I think most of the people on this forum, a lot from military backgrounds and others involved in teaching government sectors defence skills are fully aware of the risk we run living in a third world country.                      Might be bit more conceivable hearing from someone with hostage experience rather than keep seeing cut and paste that we can read elsewhere at any time if we are that concerned.

My partners family just moved back to Mindanao. They find it safer than living not far from us where they were the brunt of regular animosity and death threats. If some people think they are at risk? Try talking to few Filipino families about what happened to them. The "You are not from here" phrase can equally apply to them.

Edited by hyaku
  • Thanks 2

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Clearly everyone's risk tolerance and response to it are different.  Nobody is really right or wrong.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/28/2017 at 2:50 PM, hyaku said:

Might be bit more conceivable hearing from someone with hostage experience rather than keep seeing cut and paste that we can read elsewhere at any time if we are that concerned.

I know three Filipinos who have been held hostage by the Abu Sayyaf. One was kidnapped in 2000. She is a teacher and was kidnapped from a school with a group of other teachers and several elementary students. They didn't resist when captured and it was only when a rescue attempt took place that several were killed in the crossfire including five of the children. The two others were also teachers that were kidnapped from a school in 2013. Neither resisted, and both were released about a month and a half later. 

Below is a brief portion of a story about a Spanish priest that was kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf from a book titled Witness: Mission Stories of Basilan. The events of the teacher abducted in 2000 are also included in this book. In the case of this priest, he decided to resist:




It was about 4:30 in the afternoon and he was still some three kilometers from Matarling.

From nowhere 11 young men with pistols and rifles came out and surrounded the priests jeep. The men dragged the surprised Father Blanco out. 

He was then thrown to the left side of the road.

Then and there the priest decided to put into action what he had already decided on earlier. He was determined to die right then and there rather than be taken and held for ransom. 

The 65 year old priest started to slug it out with his young captors. 

"I think I fought with about three of them for a minute and a half" he said. "I chose the one that showed the most aggression towards me and I fought him the the hardest to see if he would kill me."

They did not kill him, but they rained blows on him, kicked him and hit him with the butts of their guns. "I don't know how many times they struck me," Father Blanco said.

And then one of the men pointed his gun to the priest's temple.

Father Blanco looked at the man straight in the eye and said "Shoot!"

"They were a little bit astonished by that," he remembered. 

Two of the men approached the priest from behind and dragged him forward. 

"Twice I tried to sit on the ground," he recalled. But he was no match for the young men. They alternately threw him on the ground and dragged him for about 200 meters.

"When I saw that there was nothing that could be done because they would not kill me anyway, I agreed to walk with them," Father Blanco said. 


He was able to escape after gaining the trust of his abductors a few months later. But as can be seen, he got a serious beating and had to endure a lot of unnecessary pain because of his actions. He would have been much better off by not resisting in the beginning of his ordeal. 

Fairly recently we had the example where the Italian Rolando del Torchio went peacefully with his captors and he too survived. 

These outcomes are not the exception, they are the most likely. Below is a list of kidnappings from 2000 to early 2015 of foreigners in the Philippines:


As can be seen, most kidnap victims survive regardless of nationality.

Since 2015 we saw two Canadians killed, two Germans killed (one of the two while resisting during the initial kidnapping), two Vietnamese hostages were the most recent to be killed, and one South Korean who died from an illness. While that is bad, dozens more were released including a handful of westerners who had been abducted during this same time-frame. With the increase in kidnappings recently, the number of executions also increased, but the survival rate still remains better than 80%.  

The evidence is overwhelming that cooperating with your captors from the get go greatly increases your odds of survival. 

The motivation of the Abu Sayyaf, even after their pledging allegiance to ISIS, is money. They are always going to take you alive no matter how hard you fight back, so it's better not to fight at all. They plan their abductions well in advance, so chances are they have all the bases covered.  It's best to go with the flow until a better and safer opportunity comes along. If they put a deadline on your life by announcing a future execution date, then you know exactly how many days you have to come up with a plan to escape. Also keep in mind that those keeping watch over you are not always going to be the sharpest tools in the shed, you will have opportunities to escape if you keep your cool and take notes during your captivity.

If they don't set a deadline for your execution, it's sometimes going to be best to just wait it out until there is a rescue attempt by the military, someone settles with a ransom amount the captors are happy with, or they just decide to let you go. 

Every situation is different, but the main thing to keep in mind is that the chances are very good that you will come out of a kidnapping alive. A positive attitude will go along way. 

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Guidelines. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue..