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Marcos cancels Dubai trip

Cites ‘important developments’ in case of seafarers


PRESIDENT Marcos Jr. yesterday cancelled his trip to Dubai where he was set to attend the 28th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28), because of “important developments” in the hostage situation involving 17 Filipinos who were taken by Yemen’s Houthi rebels last week.

The President said he is also convening a meeting to facilitate the dispatch of a high-level delegation to Tehran, “with the aim of providing necessary assistance to our seafarers.”

“In light of important developments in the hostage situation involving 17 Filipino seafarers in the Red Sea, I have made the decision not to attend COP28 in Dubai tomorrow,” the President said on his official X (formerly Twitter) account.

Marcos’ announcement was followed by a statement from the Department of Foreign.

“Government sources say that the hostages are in good condition, and will eventually be released. Efforts are ongoing for this to happen as soon as possible,” said DFA spokesperson Teresita Daza.

Daza has given the assurance that the government is doing everything to have the seafarers released.

The 17 Filipinos were part of the 25 crewmembers of the cargo vessel Galaxy Leader that the Yemeni rebels took hostage in retaliation to Israel’s offensive in Gaza. The Bahamas-flagged cargo vessel was hijacked in a crucial Red Sea shipping route by the Iran-backed Houthis who believed it was an Israeli ship. Houthi leaders have said they would target all ships owned or operated by Israeli companies or carrying the Israeli flag.

Marcos, on the COP28 event, said he designated Environment Secretary Ma. Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga, who was already in Dubai to lead the Philippine delegation to COP28.

Interior Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. read the President’s statement before the media who were waiting at the Villamor Air Base yesterday morning for the departure ceremony.

Abalos, asked about the “developments” on the situation of the Filipino seafarers and their condition, declined to give details, adding the situation is sensitive.

He asked the public for understanding, adding