Duterte forms task force instead of sending frigates to Libya to secure release of 2 OFWs
President Rodrigo Duterte has created a task force to secure the release of two kidnapped Filipino workers in Libya instead of sending frigates in the North African country, Malacanang said on Tuesday.
Duterte made the decision after discussing the abduction incident in the Cabinet meeting held in Malacanang on Monday.
"The President expressed regrets over the manner by which two Filipinos were again kidnapped in Libya. Of course, he has stated previously that he was thinking of sending frigates together with the Koreans, to at least send the message that the President takes the plight of the Filipino OFWs very seriously," said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque in a press briefing.
But he said Duterte considered the advice of the Cabinet members to first form a task force headed by Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano with members such as Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, Presidential Adviser on OFW concerns Abdullah Mama-o and Mindanao Development Authority Secretary Abul Khayr Alonto.
Roque said the Cabinet officials would "deal with the hostage crisis in Libya."
"The problem that complicates this latest case of kidnapping is that the kidnappers are not state agents of Libya; they are militias who are engaged in an armed conflict also with the Libyan government. And that is why it was deemed more prudent to work with the Libyan government to see what the demands are," he added.
Duterte earlier said he might follow the action of South Korea, which has its national as one of the hostages also, of sending a warship in Libya.
He had said that he could also order the deployment of two frigates in the North African country. Celerina Monte/DMS