MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has said that four Filipinos who survived the siege of a remote natural gas plant by Islamic militants in Algeria was scheduled to arrive Tuesday.
In a press briefing for reporters Tuesday afternoon, Assistant Secretary and DFA spokesperson Raul Hernandez said that the four survivors were reported to have been treated at an Algiers hospital.
Hernandez also noted that the bodies of four Filipinos killed in the siege were also scheduled to arrive Tuesday.
Hernandez, however, did not disclose the identities of the survivors and the fatalities, saying that it is upon request of their families and next of kin. He also did not disclose the specifics on the flights of the survivors and fatalities.
The DFA said that eight male Filipinos had been confirmed dead in the siege, while one remained missing.
Hernandez, in the press briefing, noted that the DFA was working with the concerned employment agency regarding the request made by the Philippine team in Algeria for DNA samples from the next of kin of the lone missing Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) “to facilitate the identification of his remains.” Hernandez said that the DFA had the name of the missing worker.
Hernandez also appealed to members of the media to respect “the privacy and dignity of all those who were involved in the incident” as he reiterated the families’ requests not to be approached for interviews.
“The survivors need to recuperate from their ordeal having been heavily hurt and traumatized by this recent event while the families of the fatalities especially need the next few days to quietly grieve for their tragic loss in the presence only of close friends and kin. Let us respect their wishes,” Hernandez said.
Hernandez also noted that employers of the victims were focused on taking measures and steps to ensure the safety and security of their workers in Algeria.
He added that so far, there were no discussions of issuing OFW deployment bans in Algeria but that the DFA continued to get assessments from the Philippine embassy there as to the security situation in the area.
Reports noted that dozens of foreigners were killed during a four-day standoff that ended in a bloody showdown with Algerian military forces.