The House of Representatives is working closely with the administration of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to monitor the safety and welfare of the 17 Filipino seafarers who were taken as hostages by Houthi rebels in the Red Sea, a press release said.
Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez said the incident has deeply alarmed several members of the bigger chamber, as they called on all those working for the release of the hostages to do everything in their power to free the Filipino seafarers.
“We, at the House of Representatives, are deeply concerned about the distressing situation involving 17 of our brave Filipino seafarers who are currently held hostage by Houthi rebels in the Red Sea. This situation demands our immediate and focused attention,” Romualdez, leader of the 300-plus strong House of Representatives, said.
“The House of Representatives is closely working with President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos to ensure the safety and well-being of our fellow Filipinos, which is of the highest importance,” he added.
On Monday, Yemen-based Houthi rebels released video footage of them seizing a vessel that they said was owned by an Israeli company. Reports indicate that they were mistaken.
The vessel, which had crew members from the Philippines, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Mexico, and Romania, was on its way to India from Turkey when rebels seized it.
Romualdez said the House of Representatives will support all efforts to secure the release of the Filipino hostages.
“We are in full support of the Department of Foreign Affairs’ efforts to secure their immediate and safe release,” he said.
“We call on the international community to join us in condemning this act of piracy and to assist in any way possible to resolve this crisis. The Philippines is committed to working tirelessly to ensure our citizens’ safe return and address the underlying issues that lead to such incidents,” he continued.
“We hold the seafarers and their families close in our hearts and minds, standing with them in solidarity through this incredibly challenging period.”*