Philippine officials say government forces are moving to rescue two Canadians and a Norwegian after their Muslim militant captors threatened to behead one of them if a huge ransom was not paid by 3 p.m. Monday.

Officials say the president ordered the military and police to launch the rescue in the south after the Abu Sayyaf militants threatened to kill one of the foreigners if their deadline was reached.

The kidnappers have reportedly demanded 300 million pesos ($6.5 million) for each of the foreigners, who were seized with a Filipino woman by gunmen in September last year from a marina on southern Samal Island. The hostages were believed to have been taken to Jolo Island in Sulu, a jungle-clad province where the militants are believed to be holding several hostages.