Philippine President Skips COP28, Focuses on Seafarers
Philippine President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has skipped COP28 in Dubai to personally address “important developments” in the hostage situation involving 17 Filipino seafarers.
He is convening a meeting to facilitate the dispatch of a high-level delegation to Tehran, Iran, with the aim of providing necessary assistance to the seafarers.
Marcos has assured the Filipino people that 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 NYK.
Marcos said that 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.
In a short video message late Thursday, Marcos extended his apologies to the Filipino community in the United Arab Emirates. He said he hopes that the Filipino community in Dubai will understand his decision, as he emphasized the government is also attending to the case of the Filipino nationals affected by the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas.