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PIA Press Release

Gordon's appeal to abductors: Release ICRC workers

by Danny O. Sagun

Dagupan City (6 February) -- The chairman of the Philippine National Red Cross has called for the immediate and unconditional release of the three abducted workers of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Sen. Richard Gordon, who came to town yesterday to address the 2nd Information and Communication Technology congress at the People's Astrodome here, told mediamen that the Red Cross maintains a "no-negotiation-no-ransom" policy and all it can do is to appeal for the worker's immediate and unconditional release.

"These workers are doing useful work for those who are already excluded from combat that is why they were in prison visiting detainees, making sure that the conditions thereat are better and doing things to improve them," he noted.

Gordon said he has been closely monitoring the developments on the ground and has sought the help of local officials to assure the safety of the ICRC workers. He also helped facilitate the delivery of medicines and other personal effects for the victims. One of the abducted workers, Eugenio Vagni, was reportedly suffering from high blood pressure.

Vagni, Mary Jean Lacaba and Andreas Notter were abducted by armed men last January 15 after visiting the Sulu provincial jail to inspect water and sanitation projects in the facility.

Gordon, who also guested at the kapihan forum of the Pangasinan Press and Radio Club at Lenox Hotel after addressing the ICT congress, said he was appealing for the immediate release of the workers stressing that they were innocent non-combatants and that the Geneva Convention provides absolute protection for people doing humanitarian work.

Meanwhile, the military said that the demands of the kidnappers to pull out troops from the area was not possible. The armed forces said will retain its contingent in Mindanao even as it maintained the no-ransom policy on kidnapping. (PIA Pangasinan) [top]

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