FILIPINO HOSTAGES

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ORDINARILY, news about terrorist attacks abroad do not get our serious attention unless it is as devastating and dramatic as the September 11 bombings that killed more than 3,000 people dead more than 11 years ago.

But this week, we are reminded of the pangs of terrorism lurking in our midst as 30 foreign hostages who work in a gas facility in Algeria were killed in an international rescue operation that has gone wild and gone wrong against their abductors belonging to an Islamic group.

This international event should warrant our collective and personal concern as two Filipinos were among those who were killed, more than enough reason for the Philippine government to get on its feet to look after the fate of all Filipino workers in that country.

To date, our government is still trying to determine how many Filipinos were in the gas facility, although initial reports reaching the Department of Foreign Affairs claim that more than 20 Filipinos were among the foreign hostages.

The DFA, however, is not sure if there were indeed two Filipino casualties, or could even be more since verification of the exact number and nationalities of these foreign hostages has remained a sketchy and unverified.

This task is difficult and complicated as foreign companies and contractors operating in the area as well as foreign governments involved are reluctant to release information that could otherwise be used by the Islamic abductors.

What is so far definite, as of this writing, is that a Filipino hostage had escaped the area, along with a Japanese national and 23 others. The Filipino escapee whose identify has yet to be revealed had suffered slight injuries but is now safe.

We should therefore be seriously concern about what is happening abroad, especially in Algeria where there are at least 3,400 Filipino workers, most of whom are highly skilled laborers working for multinational companies.

We should also be on guard at all times against possible terrorists attacks here as the Philippines, last I check, remains vulnerable to terrorism.

We should not be caught with our pants down before another terrorist attack takes the lives of our fellow countrymen.

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