Lacaba, 1 of 3 Red Cross hostages, freed by Abu Sayyaf

MANILA, Philippines – Mary Jean Lacaba, one of the three abducted Red Cross workers, was freed Thursday night, 77 days after she was abducted by the al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf.

Radio dzBB said the 37-year-old Lacaba was on a wheel chair and looked exhausted when she was brought to the trauma center of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ 3rd Marine Brigade in Sulu for debriefing and medical checkup.

 The report was confirmed by Lt. Gen. Nelson Allaga, commander of the Western Mindanao Command. “Sa ngayon all of us are excited. Mabuti naman she was safely recovered and right now she is resting, being attended to by doctors. She was able to talk to her fellow ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) workers and her husband.”

Lacaba, wearing dark blue jacket and jeans and apparently lost weight, was served with arrozcaldo (rice porridge with chicken).

Lacaba, Swiss Andreas Notter, and Italian Eugenio Vagni were abducted by the al-Qaeda-linked bandits led by Albader Parad last January 15 in Patikul town in Sulu.

She deeply cares

Lacaba was known to her relatives as a person who would rush to the side of any ailing individual.

This attribute would seem natural given that Lacaba works for a world-respected international humanitarian group.

Right after the abduction – and while government officials worked double time to secure the workers’ release – the atmosphere back in Lacaba’s home was only filled with sobs.

“I was with Tita Nene’s family, relatives and closest friends. Not an eye was without tears. Clearly, not a single person there has had enough time to rest and cope with his or her distress. The atmosphere can only be described as somber,” said a blogger who identified herself as Lacaba’s niece.

In a blog entry she posted January 18, Nanykrung recalled that the incident had immediately triggered memories of the 44-year-old seized ICRC worker rushing to her side when she was still recuperating from an ailment.

“Tita Nene would constantly check on how I was doing. This is how I know that she deeply cares for me too, in the same way that she cares for her distraught son,” said blogger Nanaykrung.

Nanykrung said all she and her relatives could do is hang their faiths to God.

Good little cry

Senator Richard Gordon, president of the Philippine National Red Cross was deeply touched by Lacab’s release. “I had a good little cry afterwards,” said Gordon, who was involved in the negotiations.

Press Secretary Cerge Remonde was very thankful that Lacaba was released safely.

“Tayo po ay nagpapasalamat sa poong Maykapal. Patuloy po tayong manalangin para marelease ang dalawa pang bihag [We are thankful to God. We should continue praying for the release of the two other hostages],” said Remonde.


Published in: on April 2, 2009 at 8:44 pm  Comments Off on Lacaba, 1 of 3 Red Cross hostages, freed by Abu Sayyaf  
Tags: ,
%d bloggers like this: