Sobejana said at least 40 people on board were brought to a hospital and troops were trying to save the rest.
It was not immediately clear what caused the crash. A military spokesman, Colonel Edgard Arevalo, said there was no indication of any attack on the plane, but that a crash investigation had not begun and efforts were focused on rescue and treatment.
It has been raining in the central Philippines but it was not immediately clear if the weather in the Sulu region has been affected. The airport in Sulu’s main town of Jolo is located a few kilometers from a mountainous area where troops have battled the Abu Sayyaf. Some militants have aligned themselves with the Islamic State group.
The United States and the Philippines have separately blacklisted the Abu Sayyaf as a terrorist organization for bombings, ransom kidnappings and beheadings. It has been considerably weakened by years of government offensives but remains a threat.
More to come