Malacanang: military, police capable of locating and rescuing ICRC staff

In a press statement posted on the Office of the Press Secretary’s website, Deputy  Presidential Spokesperson Dr. Anthony Golez  told the state-run Radyo ng Bayan that there is no need, “at least, for now” to call in foreign help on the rescue operations for the ICRC personnel.”

Kidnapped were two foreigners and a Filipino national. They were identified as Andreas Notter, a Swiss national and head of the ICRC office in Zamboanga City; Eugenio Vagni, an Italian; and Jean Lacaba, a Filipino engineer.

“We have not received requests for foreign help. The AFP and PNP are capable of doing this on their own,” he said.

Senator Francis Pangilinan in a press statement today proposed to the government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front to “work together” to recover the three members of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) who were abducted January 15 outside the provincial jail in Jolo, Sulu. 

Pangilinan was reacting to the MILF’s claim that they, too, were in pursuit of Abu Sayyaf leader Albader Parad and his men. He challenged the MILF to “continue helping the government eliminate the members of the terrorist group and restore peace and security to war-torn areas of the South.”

"Perhaps both the MILF and government troops can work together to safely recover our friends from the ICRC. Then, this can pave the way for peace talks and allow us to move forward as one nation,” Pangilinan said.

Golez appealed to the residents of Sulu province to "share" with the police and the military much-needed information on the whereabouts of the workers and to notify authorities if they see the ICRC workers.

”Reports say it was armed men believed to be Abu Sayyaf bandits who abducted the three ICRC workers,”  the OPS report said.

The President has ordered pursuit operations.

Golez said the Philippine government is assuring the families of Lacaba, Vagni, and  Notter, that all efforts are being exerted to locate and rescue them.

“The only assurance we can give their families and embassies is that the AFP and PNP are doing everything they can to rescue them safely and return them to their loved ones the soonest possible time," Golez said. (MindaNews)