Use VFA to free ICRC workers – Pimentel

MANILA — Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. said on Sunday that the Philippines could use its defense pacts with the United States such as the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) to get help in its ongoing bid to secure the release of two foreign aid workers being held by the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu.

“We can make use of them,” Pimentel said candidly of the defense pacts between Manila and Washington, but made it clear he only wanted US technological help and not combat participation against the Abu Sayyaf.

Interviewed over dzBB radio, Pimentel made the suggestion in replying to a query on calls by lawmakers to review the VFA.

“The VFA can be used to ask help from the US so we can secure the release of two hostages of the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu and the Filipino teachers kidnapped by the group in Zamboanga,’’ he said in Filipino.

Pimentel was referring to Swiss Andreas Notter and Italian Eugenio Vagni who remained in the hands of the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu, as well as the six Filipino teachers who were taken in Zamboanga, and some of who were now in Basilan.

Pimentel made it clear that he did not want the agreements to be used to send US troops to go after the Abu Sayyaf.

He said these agreements should only be used for the country to borrow “sophisticated equipment” from the US that would help Philippine troops locate the whereabouts kidnappers.

“We need to monitor their movements and the Americans are the only ones with this kind of equipment,” Pimentel said.

MANILA — Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. said on Sunday that the Philippines could use its defense pacts with the United States such as the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) to get help in its ongoing bid to secure the release of two foreign aid workers being held by the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu.

“We can make use of them,” Pimentel said candidly of the defense pacts between Manila and Washington, but made it clear he only wanted US technological help and not combat participation against the Abu Sayyaf.

Interviewed over dzBB radio, Pimentel made the suggestion in replying to a query on calls by lawmakers to review the VFA.

“The VFA can be used to ask help from the US so we can secure the release of two hostages of the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu and the Filipino teachers kidnapped by the group in Zamboanga,’’ he said in Filipino.

Pimentel was referring to Swiss Andreas Notter and Italian Eugenio Vagni who remained in the hands of the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu, as well as the six Filipino teachers who were taken in Zamboanga, and some of who were now in Basilan.

Pimentel made it clear that he did not want the agreements to be used to send US troops to go after the Abu Sayyaf.

He said these agreements should only be used for the country to borrow “sophisticated equipment” from the US that would help Philippine troops locate the whereabouts kidnappers.

“We need to monitor their movements and the Americans are the only ones with this kind of equipment,” Pimentel said.

MANILA — Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. said on Sunday that the Philippines could use its defense pacts with the United States such as the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) to get help in its ongoing bid to secure the release of two foreign aid workers being held by the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu.

“We can make use of them,” Pimentel said candidly of the defense pacts between Manila and Washington, but made it clear he only wanted US technological help and not combat participation against the Abu Sayyaf.

Interviewed over dzBB radio, Pimentel made the suggestion in replying to a query on calls by lawmakers to review the VFA.

“The VFA can be used to ask help from the US so we can secure the release of two hostages of the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu and the Filipino teachers kidnapped by the group in Zamboanga,’’ he said in Filipino.

Pimentel was referring to Swiss Andreas Notter and Italian Eugenio Vagni who remained in the hands of the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu, as well as the six Filipino teachers who were taken in Zamboanga, and some of who were now in Basilan.

Pimentel made it clear that he did not want the agreements to be used to send US troops to go after the Abu Sayyaf.

He said these agreements should only be used for the country to borrow “sophisticated equipment” from the US that would help Philippine troops locate the whereabouts kidnappers.

“We need to monitor their movements and the Americans are the only ones with this kind of equipment,” Pimentel said.

Christine Avendaño
Philippine Daily Inquirer

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Published in: on April 12, 2009 at 6:42 pm  Comments Off on Use VFA to free ICRC workers – Pimentel  
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