One Bulgarian Hostage Executed
"As of today (Wednesday), our head count is down from 51 to 43. The Foreign Affairs Ministry is coordinating the pullout of the humanitarian contingent with the Ministry of National Defense." -DFA Secretary Delia Albert [CNN Report]
"We are disappointed to see statements like this. As you know our general policy has always been against offering any sorts of concessions to terrorists because we do think it sends the wrong signal." -US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher [Voice of America News]
It has been revealed also that US Secretary of State Colin Powell called up President GMA last Sunday to discuss the situation, and as exchanges between the US and the Philippines are taking place, the Iraqi militant terrorists applied more tension by executing one of their Bulgarian hostages. Al-Jazeera TV reported that it had received 2 videotapes, one showing the killing of the Bulgarian hostage and the other containing a message from an Egyptian hostage also being held in Iraq. [CNN News]
Egyptian? Now, they have an Egyptian hostage, too? Are we sure these people are not Abu-Sayyaf or were not trained by the Abu-Sayyaf? It seems they would like to make their stable of hostages look like a meeting of UN delegates, and this has largely been Abu-Sayyaf's trademark when engaged in kidnapping activities.
For the uninitiated, the Abu-Sayyaf group (the word means "father of the swordsman") is an Islamic militant Muslim-Filipino group in Mindanao, south of the Philippines, that used to be a faction of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), but broke-off in 1991, to pursue a more fundamentalist battle against the Philippine government. Their claim to notoriety began in 2000 when they kidnapped a group of foreign tourists from a Malaysian resort island.
The killing of the Bulgarian hostage is somewhat a statement that says "Hurry up with your pull-out, before we grow impatient and decide to execute Angelo dela Cruz next."
The US says the Philippines shouldn't be cowed with statements and threats like that as it encourages the terrorists.
I continue to wish it was that easy.
In spite of the criticism of Americans, the Philippine government ignores this and continues to pull-out its 51-man humanitarian contingent in Iraq.
For all of our differences as a nation of Filipinos with disparate ideologies, we are proving to the world and to the US that in the end, blood is thicker than water.
I support GMA in her decision to pull-out of Iraq.