Quote for the Week..

"Why are the country’s political leaders quick to act on amending the Constitution to change nationalistic provisions for the benefit of foreigners or to extend their terms of office but are allergic to amending the Constitution to address the people’s aspirations for self-determination?" - Marvic Leonen,Dean of the UP College of Law, in a keynote address delivered at the 1st International Solidarity Conference on Mindanao; March 16-18, 2009 in Davao City, Philippines.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

No talks despite kidnapped victims’ appeals — Sec. Teodoro

The government will not negotiate with kidnappers holding three members of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) despite the hostages’ appeal for the government to start the talks, the Defense chief said Wednesday.

In an interview, Defense Secretary Gilberto C. Teodoro, Jr. said Wednesday that negotiating with the kidnappers would negatively affect anti-crime efforts and could lead to the rise of kidnapping cases.

In a television interview aired Tuesday night, one of the abducted ICRC staff — Mary Jean Lacaba — called on the government to negotiate with the kidnappers for their release, saying their health has been deteriorating.

Ms. Lacaba, a Filipina, Swiss Andreas Notter and Italian Eugenio Vagni were kidnapped on Jan. 15 after conducting a humanitarian mission in Sulu province.

"I think the public must be reminded that there is no justification for kidnapping," Mr. Teodoro told reporters.

He said the government is concerned with the health of the hostages but the abductors, who reportedly belong to the Abu Sayyaf, must not use the deteriorating condition of the hostages to pressure the government to negotiate.

"If you have hostages [and] they are suffering, there is only one right and correct thing to do, release them immediately," he told reporters Wednesday.

He said the crisis management committee led by Sulu Governor Abdusakur M. Tan is still on top of the situation. The group is composed of representatives from the Armed Forces, Philippine National Police and the ICRC.

Earlier, the Abu Sayyaf led by Albader Parad and Radullan Sahiron asked for the pullout of military troops as well as the abolition of the crisis management committee.(Louella D. Desiderio, BusinessWorld)

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