Philippine President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
PHOTO BY ARCHIVE
Philippine President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. extended his apologies to the Filipino community in the UAE after he cancelled his Dubai trip to work on the safe release of Filipino hostages in the Red Sea.
Marcos was supposed to fly to Dubai on Thursday (November 30) at the start of the COP28 global climate change conference hosted in the emirate, and meet with the Filipino community in a gathering at the Dubai World Trade Centre in the late afternoon.
“We would have been together in a big gathering of the Filipino community from different countries. However, it is a bit sad that it couldn’t push through. Our countrymen are being held hostage. There are 17 of them,” Marcos said in Filipino in a video message released to media on Thursday night, “I feel very bad that I will not be able to do it with you this time.”
The Philippine president was referring to the 17 Filipino seafarers who are being held hostage in the Red Sea by Yemen’s Houthi militants. The Filipinos are among 25 crewmen of the cargo vessel Galaxy Leader seized by Houthis in the southern Red Sea on November 19. Other crew members are Ukrainians and Mexicans. Marcos said that the government is working to safely bring the Filipinos home.
Marcos convened a meeting for the deployment of a high-level delegation to Iran to provide assistance to 17 Filipino seafarers held hostage by Houthi rebels on a cargo ship in the Red Sea. The Philippines is working with foreign governments for their immediate release.
Meanwhile, nearly 2,000 Filipinos showed up at the gathering at the Dubai World Trade Centre on Thursday. It was attended by Environment Secretary Ma. Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga, whom Marcos designated as his representative at the COP28.
The gathering was also attended by Philippine Ambassador to UAE Alfonso Verdinand Ver, Philippine Consul General in Dubai and Northern Emirates Renato Dueñas Jr. and embassy and consulate officials, as well as members of the Philippine Cabinet: Department of Science and Technology Secretary Renato Solidum Jr.; Department of Migrant Worker OIC Undersecretary Hans Cacdac; Department of Health Secretary Ted Herbosa; Presidential Legislative Liaison Office Secretary Mark Llandro Mendoza and Special Assistant to the President Secretary Antonio Lagdameo Jr.
In his video message, the Philippine president commended the Filipino community in the UAE for their invaluable contributions to the overall positive progress of the Philippines, lauding them for continuing to represent the best of Filipinos worldwide.
“I want to thank you for your big contribution to the country. Your hardwork, exemplary skills, and Filipino service is a great example for all Filipinos, and are being recognized globally,” Marcos said in Filipino. ICA/Expat Media
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