NO ransom was paid for the release of three Filipino and Korean engineers kidnapped in July 2018 in Libya, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr said on Sunday.
“No money passed. Not a friggin’ cent. What we had was far better; what we had and have forever were old friends abroad to help,” Locsin said on Twitter to clarify reports that some quarters paid ransom to the abductors.
“Even Korea dismissed the 14 million euro suggested. In the end old friends pulled it off. If anyone claims reimbursement for ransom he claims to have advanced I will wipe out his village,” he said.
The three Filipino engineers and their South Korean colleague were taken by armed men from the project site of the Great Man-Made River Project in the southern part of Libya.
Accompanied by Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates Hjayceelyn Quintana, the three Filipinos arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 on Saturday morning on board Philippine Airline Flight 0659.
Locsin personally welcomed them. “I told them the President would have strung me up if they did not come back safe. They said they knew he was watching over them.”
When a netizen said that the kidnappers must face the consequences of their action, Locsin said, “Forget the consequences, we are ecstatic they were given back to us by foreign friends.”
“Filipinos as such are never targeted because they are indeed valued for the good they do wherever they are, like in post-Shah Iran where they stayed and staffed the empty hospitals,” he added.
Locsin said he was happy to see the Filipinos alive. “We are glad that we are able to bring them home alive and safe to their families. These Filipinos coming home to their families are living proof that the Department of Foreign Affairs will never leave a Filipino in danger behind.”
The DFA, through the Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs, shouldered the airline tickets to Manila and provided cash assistance.
Locsin also reiterated that the Philippines’ appreciation to the efforts of the countries that led to the release of the three Filipinos and their Korean colleague.BERNADETTE E. TAMAYO