US gov't expresses gratitude for PGMA support in Campbell rescue
Manila (18 April) -- United States Peace Corps Director Ronald Tschetter called on President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo at Malacañang this morning to personally extend the US government's "deep appreciation" for the Philippine government's support in the continuing search and rescue operations for missing Peace Corps volunteer Julia Campbell.
Earlier reports said the 40-year-old Campbell, who is from Fairfax, Virginia, went trekking in the jungles of Ifugao province and was last seen on April 8 in a hilly area of Batad, 1.5 kilometers east of Banaue town in Ifugao.
Malacañang, through Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, had assured the US government that the Philippine National Police (PNP) regional office was doing everything to look for Campbell, one of the 137 Peace Corps volunteers in the Philippines.
Ermita said he had instructed members of the Ifugao police "to look for Ms. Campbell" by scouring the area where she was last seen.
"Primarily, I wanted to express (to the President) our deep appreciation for the Filipino people, the military and the Philippine police as well as the governor of the district (because) everyone has been supportive in the search for Julia Campbell," Tschetter said after he and his companions came out of the nearly 20-minute closed-door meeting with the President.
He also said that the President expressed her thanks to the US Peace Corps volunteers and asked him (Tschetter) "to tell the American people how sorry she was for what happened."
Tschetter said that after his courtesy call on the President, he was meeting with Peace Corps volunteers based in Manila as a show of support for them and to raise their morale.
According to him, the current Peace Corps volunteers in the Philippines are a close-knit group and have grown emotionally attached to each other.
"The Peace Corps volunteers will continue to do their work. I wanted to meet with them to express support to them. These volunteers get very close to each other so they feel very emotionally connected and attached to Julia so we need to just make sure that we're sensitive to their emotions and their needs at this very difficult time," Tschetter said.
Tschetter was accompanied to Malacañang by US Charge d'Affaires Paul Jones and US Peace Corps Country Director Karl Beck. (PIA-MMIO) [top]