Aquino thanks Canada, Norway for backing no ransom policy
President Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday expressed his gratitude for the way the governments of Canada and Norway have been handling the crisis with the bandit group Abu Sayyaf despite the beheading of the second Canadian hostage.
Aquino, during a televised press conference in Jolo, Sulu, said he already spoke to Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg on Tuesday evening and previously to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
“Humingi ako ng paumanhin sa Prime Minister ng Canada dahil hindi lang isa, dalawa sa kanilang kababayan ang namatay (I apologized to Canada’s Prime Minister because not only one but two of their nationals have died),” he said.
The Abu Sayyaf beheaded Canadian national Robert Hall two days ago, almost three weeks after his friend John Ridsdel was executed. Abu Sayyaf still holds their companions Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad and Filipino Maritess Flor.
“Nagpasalamat din tayo na nanindigan sila dun sa no ransom policy (I also thanked him for backing no ransom policy),” Aquino said.
The bandit group was asking for P600 million for the release of their captives.
The President explained that paying ransom would allow the Abu Sayyaf to encourage more people to join their group.
“Kaya pag walang ransom, mababawasan yung interes na sumama sa kanilang mga hanay. Maiiwan na lang yung core group na mas maliit (If there would be no ransom, people would be discourage to join their group. What would be left is the core group which is smaller),” he said.
Aquino said Solberg asked for updates and for an explanation on the probability that there will be “successful resolution to the conflict.”
He said Solberg told him, “We understand for the Philippines how complex this problem is.”
She also assured Aquino that the Norway government will not pay ransom although they “do not have control over the private individual.”
The Prime Minister also offered assistance.
“Hingin lang daw natin, ipagkakaloob nila. Tulad din ng Canada (She said they would grant whatever we wish. Just like what Canada did),” Aquino said.
The President said he was thankful that the two heads of state saw the bigger picture.
“Itong dalawang leader na nakausap natin napakalawak ng pag-unawa. Na imbes na nagsabi na lang ng galit, sama ng loob, sisihan, pinadama sa atin yung pakikiisa sa pagresolba ng problemang ito at kahandaang tumulong,” he said.
(These two leaders I have spoken to are very understanding. Instead of expressing anger, grief, blame, they showed their cooperation and willingness to help in resolving this problem.)
Aquino said that the problem is not being faced by the Philippines alone. “Di tayo nag-iisa sa paghanap ng solusyon (We are not alone in finding soultions),” he said. RAM
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.