By Martin Sadongdong
The Philippine Navy (PN) announced on Saturday it is readying its troops as a support force in the national government’s attempt to rescue the three kidnapped overseas Filipino workers, along with a South Korean, in Libya.
“Pursuant to the directive of the Commander-in-Chief, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, the Philippine Navy composed of Fleet-Marine component is planning for the appropriate force package as response to the kidnapping of three Filipinos along with one South Korean national in Libya,” said Navy spokesperson Cdr. Jonathan Zata in a statement.
According to Zata, the Philippine Navy initially directed its liaison officer, Capt. Donn Miraflor, who is attached to the Combined Maritime Forces based in Bahrain, to coordinate with the Philippines’ Charge d’Affaires Boy Melicor in Tripoli, Libya.
“Based on the preliminary information he gathered this morning, the Libyan authorities have been exerting all efforts for the past month to ascertain the identity of the perpetrators and for the recovery of the kidnapped nationals,” Zata stated.
With this development, Zata said the Philippine Navy has been preparing or the deployment of a Naval Task Group which will assist the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in the situation in Libya.
Media reports said that a group of armed insurgents stormed a water plant in Libya last month where workers–three Filipinos and a South Korean–of Al Nahr company were abducted.
A 2:43-minute-long video of the kidnapped victims circulated in social media on Thursday as they appealed for help from their respective governments.
In a speech in Malaybalay, Bukidnon on Friday, President Duterte said he was considering the deployment of a frigate to Libya. He added that he would order the Navy to blast the kidnappers to save the victims.