More than 20 Philippine hostages in Algeria

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DFA spokesman Raul Hernandez. FILE PHOTO

MANILA–The Philippine government has received reports that more than 20 of its nationals were among the foreign hostages seized by Islamist gunmen in Algeria, a foreign department spokesman said Friday.

Undersecretary Raul Hernandez said a Filipino hostage, along with a Japanese national, had escaped the area before Algerian forces launched a rescue operation, although he had suffered slight injuries.

“He is now on the way to Algiers for treatment,” Hernandez said, declining to give details.

Officials were checking if any of the Filipinos were among the dead and wounded after the Algerian military launched a rescue operation that had reportedly left several hostages dead, he said.

The gunmen seized the gas plant in the Algerian desert on Wednesday, taking numerous foreigners hostage. Algerian forces launched an operation against the gunmen the next day that reportedly left several hostages dead.

Hernandez said that earlier a brother and a wife of two Filipino workers had separately called the department to say that their relatives and 19 other Filipino co-workers had been in the gas field at the time.

“The Algerians admitted that there were some deaths and injuries on the side of the hostages following the operation undertaken by the Algerian military forces but no details were released,” he added.

Manila was still trying to determine how many Filipinos were in the plant, a task that was complicated by the many foreign companies and contractors operating in the area, he said.

About nine million Filipinos work around the world, as seamen, laborers, domestic helpers and in many other fields, earning more than they could in their poverty-stricken home country.

The money they send home is a major pillar of the local economy, but they are often exposed to danger overseas and their welfare is a thorny issue in the Philippines.

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  • Albin

    Algerian state television said two Filipinos were killed in the operation to liberate hostages, according to the Associated Press.

    • 12JEM

       Source: The Guardian:
      Thirty hostages were feared dead after Algerian troops stormed a
      desert gas field seized by a jihadist group in a disastrous end to the
      worst international hostage crisis of recent years.
      Reuters news
      agency quoted an Algerian security source as saying that the 30 victims
      included eight Algerians, two Britons, two Japanese and one French
      national, and that the nationality of the remaining 17 hostages killed
      in the battle had not been confirmed. Earlier in the day, the militants
      claimed 34 western hostages had lost their lives in the Algerian rescue
      attempt. Eleven jihadists were also reported to be killed.
      One British contractor died in the initial jihadist attack on the In Amenas gas field on Wednesday morning, but prime minister David Cameron
      warned that the country “should be prepared for further bad news in
      this very dangerous, fluid situation”. The Foreign Office called it “an
      appalling tragedy”.
      state news agency APS saidthe military operation to free hostages had
      ended, quoting an unnamed official source who gave no further details.
      Saïd, the Algerian communications minister, earlier confirmed that
      several hostages had been killed but said troops had been forced to act
      to free them due to the “diehard” attitude of their captors. “The
      operation resulted in the neutralisation of a large number of terrorists
      and the liberation of a considerable number of hostages,” Saïd said,
      according to the New York Times. “Unfortunately, we deplore also the
      death of some, as well as some who were wounded. We do not have final

  • Garo Ungaro

    This is the reality… the danger and the price we filipinos pays in search for a better life/living to keep their family and the government afloat….

    • Fetoy

      tama ka kaibigan….umalis tayo ng bansang pilipinas just to escape the poverty..
      pero ang mga inutil nating mga opisialis ng governo.. walang mga yagballs.. at magisip kung ano ang maipaglingod sa kanilang mga..citizen…para
      mabigyan tayo ng trabaho sa sariling nating..bansa….thats life in the philippines..

  • JK1000

    This is a very tragic and sad news for our fellow kababayans. we keep sending our kababayans to dangerous places around the world but our leaders continue to robbed our country’s future by pocketing taxpayers money.NO SHAME AT ALL !

  • SolitaJ

    So sad, so many OFWs have cost their lives and future in search of greener pasture they can’t find in their homeland.

  • kilabot

    ofw, the servant of the world leave family and put oneself in harm’s way; 
    so politicians can brag about a bright economy; 
    they promise a better life they cannot give except to their own greedy selves. 

    servants work and die; 
    politician masters live the bullish sky.

    • UPnnGrd

       Huwag kang mag-alala…. hintay lang ng sandali at parang kidlat mag  pri-press release si Valte at sasabihin na talaga namang nag-mamalasakit si Presidente para sa mga OFW.

  • Jun Tuazon

    the sad thing is the Phil. govt or specifically the DFA doesn’t even know about these people,sometimes you feel that the govt don’t care as long as they send remittances & pay their dues.Very sad indeed.

  • Edgardo Mendoza


  • kilawon

     “poverty-stricken home country”! are u kidding me ……its cultural B****S !….why do foreigners if they come here whether they are chinese ,korean etc find a lot of opportunity or maybe create opportunities for themselves….. i don’t believe in the lack opportunity in our country, its just, filipinos have some slave mentality hangover from the past! they are not born innovators,leaders,visionaries etc…they just want to a** lick their master just enough not to fire them from their job!

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