Arroyo: Answered prayer

MANILA, Philippines – President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo hailed the release of Red Cross worker Mary Jean Lacaba from the Abu Sayyaf as an answered prayer.

In a statement, the President said she was also hoping that the al Qaeda-linked bandits would free. Lacaba’s two other colleagues from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) — Swiss Andreas Notter and Italian Eugenio Vagni.

“We are happy that Ms Lacaba is back with us and we hope the ASG [Abu Sayyaf Group] will also release the two other hostages very soon,” Arroyo said.

“This is the answer to our people’s prayers and also confirmation that we should always stand behind our policy of dealing firmly with any form of lawless behavior,” she said.

Lacaba was released somewhere in Indanan town on Thursday evening.

The three ICRC workers were snatched last January 15 while on a humanitarian mission.

In Davao City, a relative of Lacaba’s told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that they could not contain their happiness upon learning that she was freed by her captors.

“Nagsisigawan na kami dito,” the relative, who requested anonymity, told the Inquirer, parent company of INQUIRER.net.

The relative said Lacaba had talked to her family in Davao City.

Meanwhile, Senator Richartd Gordon expressed gladness over the release of Lacaba.

“We are glad that one of our colleagues, Mary Jean Lacaba, is now out of harm’s way after her ordeal in the hands of her captors,” said Gordon, chairman of the Philippine National Red Cross.

“She is on her way to a secured place for debriefing and medical attention, and we expect her to be reunited with her family very soon,” he said in a statement.

“We thank the AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines], PNP [Philippine National Police], the Local Crisis Committee and all those who helped obtain Nene’s release for their collective and individual efforts, he said.

“Whenever we can find the opportunity, we’ll try by our peaceful and diplomatic actions to convince the group holding Andreas Notter and Eugenio Vagni that there is no glory in taking life, much less of innocent people who have only the welfare of the people in need in their mind,” he said.

He appealed to “our Muslim brothers to release Andreas and Eugenio unharmed and as soon as possible.”

“Let us continue on offering our special prayers and sacrifices until the freedom of our two colleagues is finally obtained,” he said.

Joel Guinto, INQUIRER.net
With reports from Nico Alconaba, Inquirer Mindanao,
and Maila Ager, INQUIRER.net

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Published in: on April 2, 2009 at 9:50 pm  Comments Off on Arroyo: Answered prayer  
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