The abductors of Irish priest Father Michael Sinnott have made contact with his Catholic Mission in the Philippines.
However, Filipino security chiefs are refusing to reveal details of the call to Sinnot's fellow priest in the nearby city of Ozamis.
Major General Ben Dolorfino said Tuesday that troops were surrounding the area where he believes the 79-year-old is being held captive, thought to be the town of Sultan Naga Dimaporo on the coast.
Sinnott recently has a heart bypass surgery and suffers from a heart condition, and concerns are growing for his state of health.
Sinnot, who teaches at the St. Columbian College, was ambushed by armed men at gunpoint at his home in the southern city of Pagadian in Zamboanga del Sur.