June 19, 2024

The Insider News

Direct from the source

Romualdez seeks update on 13 Filipino survivors in Yemen cargo vessel attack

SPEAKER Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez intends to seek an update from concerned officials on the safety and well-being of 13 Filipino crewmen whose cargo vessel was attacked with a missile by Houthi rebels in Yemen.

“Pagdating ni Speaker, we will be definitely be calling on the DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) to give a status (report) kung anong nangyayari,” Deputy Majority Leader for Communications and ACT-CIS Party-list Rep. Erwin Tulfo told a regular House of Representatives’ news briefing Thursday. 

“I believe we can only do so much. Kasi we don’t have direct communications or relations or a diplomatic ties with Yemen, with the Houthis. So, ang nangyayari, we go to a third party. Mayroon tayo like, baka pwedeng pakiusapan. Iyung kausap natin may kausap pang iba. So parang nangyayari ngayon sa Palestine saka sa Israel sa Hamas,” he said.

“Ang daming namamagitan. May parang mga middleman, may mga grupo. Ganoon din dito, hindi directly tayo nakikipag-usap sa Houthis, di talaga directly nakikiipag-usap sa Yemen…So pagbalik ni Speaker next week, I’m sure magpapa-briefing siya sa DFA where we stand at saan na. And then, gusto rin ni Speaker daw malaman yung sitwasyon ng pamilya ng mga kababayan natin na na-hostage ngayon,” Tulfo explained.

For his part, Anakalusugan Party-list Rep. Ray Reyes said the House would do its oversight function in inquiring into the welfare of the involved seafarers.

“Ang ano po natin dito is to closely monitor, then we leave this to the capable hands po ng DFA po natin. They are the ones who are on the ground. Sila po ang may up to date situation and we will look forward who doon sa update po nila pagdating ni Speaker,” he said.

Reyes called on the DFA and the Department of Migrant Workers to extend assistance to the seafarers and their families.

“Ang panawagan naman din naman dito sa Kongreso is either sa DFA or sa Department of Migrant Workers ay mabigyan din po ng assistance po iyung mga pamilya po ng mga seafarers natin dito,” he said.

Aside from financial assistance, he said the sailors’ families need to constantly communicate with them.

Another House member, Deputy Majority Leader and Iloilo 1st District Rep. Janette Garin said communication between the government and those taking care of the Filipino seafarers is important.

“Aside sa syempre pera at subsistence nila, andoon ‘yung maibsan ‘yung kaba. So, the mere fact that our government has open lines to those negotiating, that’s already a big first step. Iyong may linya ka alam mo kung ano ang nangyayari at ramdam ng kanilang mga pamilya na anduduon sila umaasa na mailabas,” she said.

“I believe at the proper time, mabibigyan din iyan ng solusyon. Kasi usually even the vessel owners and even the country where these companies are registered, sila ang pumapasok para mabigyang solusyon ang problemang ito. Kasi it’s a geographical problem eh, parang kailangan mong dumaan sa lugar na iyon at duon naman ay napakabilis na iki-kidnap iyong ating mga kababayan,” she said.

As of the latest report, there were at least 13 Filipino crewmen of the vessel True Independence when it was attacked by Houthi rebels. 

Three died in the attack, including two Filipinos.