Musician appeals for missing kin in Vietnam

by Patrick Camara Ropeta, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau

Posted at Apr 24 2012 08:34 AM | Updated as of Apr 24 2012 04:34 PM

LONDON - A UK-based musician has launched a public appeal in aid of a relative who has been missing in Vietnam since Friday, April 20.

London singer Mark Villarosa is urging people to help share information to discover leads, attract media attention, and gain support from authorities in the search for his uncle, Edwin de la Cruz, also known as “Bong”.

De la Cruz went missing in Vietnam whilst travelling with his mother and sister to visit a sibling in nearby Cambodia. They were passing through Ho Chi Minh City to catch a flight back to Manila when Bong decided to have a walk and never came back.

“Our family would like the support of our government, embassy and the media to assist us in working with local Vietnamese authorities in finding Edwin,” Villarosa told ABS-CBN Europe.

“We are aware that public support will likely make this more possible so we’re asking the public for their support, and the easiest way to make it visible is via social media which can help to increase awareness of his disappearance and possibly offer clues to his whereabouts.”

A Facebook page has been set-up to help spread the word. The singer added: “The media is more likely to pick up a story if there is visible and sizeable public support for it. Please help our family bring our missing persons page on Facebook to more prominence. Like and share the page, before another day passes that Edwin is still not found.”

The family is “distressed but trying to keep calm,” and has expressed fears over Bong’s welfare, revealing that he suffers from “memory lapses” and may be “disoriented and confused”, due to a liver condition.

Bong’s sister, Catherine, who is based in Cambodia, is in Vietnam to facilitate the search for their relative. Lacking local knowledge and language skills, however, she has been relying on the kindness of strangers to help with communication and information.

On an update in Facebook, she shared: “With no language, I completely rely on the kindness of the Vietnamese staff at the hotel where I am staying. An English-speaking Vietnamese guest graciously offered to call all hospitals in HCMC this morning. Will be posting a poster of Edwin's picture in different places today. Will be calling someone who could be my translator. I will try the best that I can do to find my brother.”

She added: “Today a notice of Edwin missing will be aired on one Vietnamese television station. So far I have not heard any result from the police, the Philippine Consulate, and the newspaper ads.”

Edwin “Bong” de la Cruz is 47 years old and based in Makati, Philippines, where he lives with his wife, Emiliana, and their three children: Erika (20), Ison (18), and Erin (10).

He was last seen near a bus stop outside Hoang Hai Long 2 Hotel, District 1, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, at 4 a.m. on Friday, April 20. He was wearing a blue “I Love Cambodia” T-shirt with blue shorts and sandals.

The family is appealing for information and support.