Crisis group admits running out of options for ICRC workers

MANILA, Philippines – Saying it has already bent back as far as it can, Malacañang appealed to the sense of humanity of the Abu Sayyaf Monday to release three International Committee of the Red Cross workers it continues to hold hostage.

Press Secretary Cerge Remonde made the appeal even as Sulu Gov. Abudsakur Tan admitted they can only “leave everything to God” at this point.

“Well ah patuloy nakikipag-ugnayan ang ating local crisis management committee sa bandidong Abu Sayyaf. Ipagdasal natin there will be a peaceful resolution to this issue. The government is doing what it can in order to free the hostages and we just hope that itong mga bandidong ito they still have a sense of humanity in them,” Remonde said in an interview on dwIZ radio.

[Well… our local crisis management committee is trying to talk sense into the Abu Sayyaf. We can only pray there will be a peaceful resolution to this issue. The government is doing what it can to free the hostages and we can only hope these bandits have a sense of humanity in them.]

Abu Sayyaf group rejected the extent government troops pullout from the area where the bandits are believed holed up together with the three ICRC workers who they abducted last Jan. 15.

For his part, Tan said the people of Sulu had sacrificed so much in cooperating with authorities just to ensure the safe release of the hostages.

“Tayo nananalangin sa ating panginoon sana maisip naman nila [We pray to God the hostage takers will think of the ICRC workers],” he said in an interview on dzRH radio.

When asked if there is nothing much to be done at this time except to pray, he said, “yun na nga lang. Ipaubaya natin sa ating Panginoon (that’s it, we just leave everything to God).”

On the other hand, Remonde said Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno already explained the government position, and had ordered the pulling back of the troops.

“Government has already bent backwards insofar as this issue is concerned. And, ah, we are already doing the best we can to ensure the safety of the hostages,” he said.

Remonde also said the government will continue to handle the issue with “great sensitivity and great caution.”

“Our policy is still to ensure the safety of the hostages as far as we can but you put it correctly, the government can bend back only so far. But we will do our best to ensure the safety of the hostages to continue negotiating to achieve that objective,” he said.

GMANews.TV

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Published in: on March 30, 2009 at 12:12 pm  Comments Off on Crisis group admits running out of options for ICRC workers  
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