4 Filipinos from Algeria hostage crisis come home, complain about embassy response

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07:21 AM January 24th, 2013

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By: Jerome Aning, January 24th, 2013 07:21 AM

MANILA, Philippines—Four more overseas Filipino workers from the Algerian gas facility that was attacked by Islamic militants last week arrived in Manila on Wednesday.

Mario Catiis, Crisostomo Carabia, Larry Villariza and Ramon Tortosa arrived on board Qatar Airways flight QR-646 at around 4 p.m. at Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1. They were accompanied by Takamaru Ishikawa, a Japanese engineer from their company JGC Corp.

The OFWs, who were met by Eric Endaya, executive director of the Department of Foreign Affairs’ Office of the Undersecretary of Migrant Workers Affairs, refused to speak to the media and looked visibly upset. They even declined all offers of VIP treatment by immigration and customs officers, and chose to queue at the counters.

“Your embassy people, they are incompetent,” one of the OFWs, Catiis, told Endaya in Filipino.

“We will talk to you later,” another of the OFWs added.

Later, as Catiis was queueing at the baggage carousel, he said he was planning to personally write to President Aquino to complain.

Asked if he would like to return to Algeria to work, Catiis replied, “Of course, what will I do here? This is just a vacation.”

Based on the OFWs’ remarks and on the accounts of DFA and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration staff at NAIA, the four were inside the gas facility compound when it was attacked and occupied by militants. The four, however,  were able to hide and so were not taken hostage.

The OFWs were later pulled out of the site by Algerian troops.

The DFA earlier confirmed that six OFWs died and four others were injured in the rescue.

There are about 9,000 Filipinos working in Algeria.

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