DFA verifying reports of OFW victims in Algeria hostage crisis

by Maria Aleta Nieva Nishimori, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Jan 18 2013 04:39 PM | Updated as of Jan 19 2013 07:25 AM

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) have yet to get the exact details of Filipinos who may be among the hostages in Algeria.

The DFA said it continues to receive information from its foreign posts regarding the incident. One report said that over 15 Filipinos were working at the gas facility when Islamist militants attacked it.

“Our embassy is now trying to verify this information and determine the number of OFWs in the gas field and the conditions of Filipinos who maybe held as hostages or trapped in the gas field,” said DFA spokesperson, Assistant Secretary Raul Hernandez.

Hernandez said the DFA also received information from two sources in the Philippines who contacted their relatives working in the gas field.

“One said her brother, together with 15 other Filipinos, were inside the gas facility. The other source said her husband and four other Filipinos are working there,” Hernandez said.

Hernandez earlier reported that one Filipino managed to escape along with a Japanese co-worker.

“Our embassy in Tripoli received information from the Japanese embassy in Tripoli that a Filipino worker was able to escape together with a Japanese national from the gas field before the military operation started,” he said.

He is now on his way to Algiers for treatment.

The Philippine Embassy in London also reported that around 34 Filipinos working with different companies in the gas field are being evacuated by chartered plane to London via Parma, Italy.

“One of them sustained a gunshot wound,” said Hernandez.

Meanwhile, the government said it will do all it can to help the Filipinos affected by the hostage-crisis.

“The primary concern is to make sure that, if any of our nationals are involved, that they are safe and secure. The post in Tripoli will be working to get their immediate details, to determine their status in that particular country so we can extend all the assistance that is necessary to them and to their loved ones,” said Deputy Presidential Spokesperson, Undersecretary Abigail Valte.