FAMILY ASKS PUBLIC NOT TO FORGET HIM
Robert Hall, the Canadian hostage who was executed by Abu Sayyaf in Sulu, found his home in beloved Philippines, a country he considered as "paradise on earth," his family said.
For the first time since Hall's tragic death, his family issued a statement Wednesday, remembering how Hall touched people's lives.
"He was resolved to live there, to sail across the Pacific, with or without company, and make his home in what he called his paradise on earth," the Hall family said.
"He loved everything about the Philippines. The people, he said, are warm and gracious. He took an active interest in his community and his neighbors, and coached a local soccer team," the family added.
The Canadian discovered the Philippines in one of his many trips around the world as a consultant.
"The port city of Davao, where he lived, was renowned for being one of the safest places in South East Asia. With its mild weather, friendly people and in the company of other expats, he knew that he had found his home," the family added.
The Hall family said they exerted all efforts to save Robert.
"Every option was considered, every contact was sought. Ultimately, our efforts, and those of the various governmental agencies involved, weren’t enough," they said.
They have however agreed with the Canadian government's policy not to pay ransoms in kidnapping cases.
"Our family, even in our darkest hour, agrees wholeheartedly with Canada's policy of not paying ransom to those who would seek to undermine the fundamental values with which my father lived his life," the family said.
Both Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Philippine President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III condemned Hall's killing.
[READ: PH confirms execution of Canadian hostage by Abu Sayyaf
Hall was described by his family as a "self-made man" who "worked his entire life and honed his many talents in the pursuit of a life for his family, far removed from the hardships of his own youth."
He had delved into various business ventures, many of them turning out to be very successful. He was also a race car driver, a pilot, an athlete, and an adventurer, his family said.
Hall had been taken captive by Abu Sayyaf in 2015 at a resort in Samal Island, along with another Canadian man who was also executed, a Norwegian man, and a Filipino woman.
The family said they will persevere and will continue to pray for the other captives and their respective families.
"Robert will continue to live on in our hearts and minds, in our memories, in our children, and in the very manner in which we live our lives. Don’t forget him. And don’t forget about the other families who continue to suffer through these circumstances. To the Ridsdels, the Sekkingstads and the Flors; we stand with you in your time of grief and struggle, as your loved one stood with our Robert," they said.
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