AFP, PNP IN HOT PURSUIT OF KIDNAPPERS OF RED CROSS WORKERS
MALACAÑANG, JANUARY 16, 2009 (OFFICE OF PRESS SECRETARY) Press Secretary Jesus Dureza said today that combined forces of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) are in “hot pursuit” of alleged kidnappers who took a Swiss representative and two other workers of the International Committee on the Red Cross (ICRC) to the Philippines at gunpoint near the Sulu capitol building in Patikul town this morning.
In a statement, Dureza said the security forces have been tasked to “track down the criminal elements and ensure the safe return of the captives,” namely Andreas Notter, a Swiss national; Eugenio Vagni, an Italian national; and Jean Lacaba, a Filipina.
He added that the military’s Joint Task Force Comet headed by Brigadier General Juancho Sabban “has been tasked to undertake appropriate action on the ground.”
Dureza, meanwhile, reiterated the call of authorities to all visitors, whether they be locals or foreigners, to coordinate their movements to them to ensure their safety.
“In the light of this recent incident, the authorities are reiterating their call on all elements, whether locals or foreigner, who visit these areas to coordinate with government ground forces so adequate measures are done on their security and safety,” Dureza said.
“Certain measures are also being pursued in light of the fact that the ICRC is an international agency that adheres to neutrality,” he added.
New ambassadors from five countries present credentials to PGMA
Ambassadors from France, the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the Republics of Djibouti and Honduras presented their Letters of Credentials to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in Malacañang this afternoon.
The ambassadors, who will begin their tour of duties as representatives of their respective countries to the Philippines immediately after their presentation of credentials, began arriving one after the other at around 2 p.m.
First to present his credentials was Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Thierry Borja de Mozota of France.
He was accompanied by members of the French consulate led by Didier Ortolland, charge d’ affaires; Jean-Louis Bertrand, first secretary; Eric Laulagnet, police attaché, Georges-Gastau Feydeau, cultural counselor and Carolle Lucas, press attaché.
Next was Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Abdirashid Dulane Rafle of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.
He was accompanied by his third secretary Dawit Yirga.
Third to arrive was Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ahmed Araita Ali of the Republic of Djibouti.
He was accompanied by Charlie Gorazel, Consul ad honorem of the Consulate of Djibouti.
Rounding up the list of the President’s visitors for the day was Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Nadina Lfebvere Labro of the Republc of Honduras.
She was accompanied by Rolando Zosa, Consul ad honorem of the Consulate of the Republic of Honduras.
All four ambassadors promised to work to further improve and strengthen the good relations between their respective countries and the Philippines.
Joining the President in welcoming the ambassadors were Enrique Manalo, acting secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Porfirio Mayo, deputy chief of Protocol.
Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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