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PBBM thanks Pinoys in UAE, expects to meet them in the future

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Thursday expressed gratitude to the Filipinos in the United Arab Emirates (UEA) for their contributions to Philippine development as he apologized for canceling his trip to Dubai to personally address “important developments” in the hostage situation involving 17 Filipino seafarers in Yemen.

“Na hindi ako nakarating ngayong panahon na ito, ngunit magkakaroon pa tayo ng pagkakataon at titiyakin natin na ang magiging pagsasama natin – maging pagsasama ng Filipino community ay magiging matagumpay at masaya kagaya ng lagi basta’t kasama ang mga Pilipino,” President Marcos said in a video message to Filipinos in Dubai.

“Sa ngayon, gusto ko lang pasalamatan kayo sa inyong malaking ambag sa bayan, ang sipag; ang kahusayan; at pagtataguyod niyo ng serbisyong Pilipino ay isang kahanga-hangang halimbawa para sa ating lahat dito sa Pilipinas at kinikilala na sa buong mundo.”

The President was supposed to meet the Filipino community in the Gulf state immediately after his arrival in Dubai for the 28th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28).

Marcos said he has to personally address the case of 17 Filipino seafarers being held hostage by Yemeni rebels to ensure their safe release and eventual return to the Philippines.

A high-level delegation was being organized to go to Iran to negotiate with their captors, Marcos said, noting the Philippines has also repatriated Filipinos from Gaza who were affected by the ongoing conflict there.

“Kaya’t, siguro naman maunawaan ninyo, na inuna muna natin ‘yan dahil kailangan nating tiyakin ang syempre ang seguridad ng ating mga kababayan. Katatapos lang natin naiuwi lahat ng ating mga Pilipino na naiwan sa Gaza – doon nga sa labanan ng Israel at saka Gaza ay ‘yung iba na-hostage,” Marcos told the Filipinos in UAE.

Marcos said he was looking forward to being with them for some other time as his foreign trips always include meetings with Filipino communities.

Marcos announced on his official X (formerly Twitter) account his decision not to attend COP28 in Dubai.

The President said he has entrusted Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Ma. Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga to lead the COP28 delegation and articulate the country’s statement on his behalf.

Marcos earlier assured the government is doing all it can to ensure the safety of the 17 Filipino seafarers taken hostage by Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Yemeni rebels seized the cargo vessel Galaxy Leader and took hostage its 25 crewmembers, including 17 Filipinos, in retaliation for Israel’s offensive in Gaza, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

The Bahamas-flagged, British-owned Galaxy Leader, with links to Israeli businessman Abraham “Rami” Ungar, is operated by a Japanese firm. | PND

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