Palace respects Italian government travel warning vs. Mindanao-A A +A
Sunday, October 23, 2011
MALACANANG said Sunday that it respects the decision of the Italian government to keep its travel advisory against Mindanao following the death of missionary Fr. Fausto Tentorio.
"We respect the decision of the Italian government to keep the travel warning intact," said deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte.
She said the Palace also hopes for reconsideration, citing government's efforts to improve security for foreigners in the country.
"We are taking steps to ensure the security of everyone who visits our country. And we hope that, moving forward, it can be revisited," she said.
Valte said the Philippine National Police has formed a special task group to investigate the case of Tentorio.
"The President we will have justice for the life that was lost," she said.
A lone gunman gunned down Tentorio last October 17 inside his church compound in Arakan town in North Cotabato.
His killing was said to be related to his advocacy in upholding the rights of indigenous people and opposing mining operations in the province.
Due to the priest's death, the Italian embassy reiterated its warning on its nationals against traveling to Mindanao, calling the region as a "red area".
Tentorio was the third priest in the Pontificio Instituto Missioni Estere (PIME or Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions) murdered in the Philippines. Two others were Fr. Tullio Favali and Fr. Salvatore Carzedda.
A mass will be held in Rome on October 25, which is the day Tentorio's remains will be buried.
Meanwhile, Valte said the government is ready to provide security to other two foreign missionaries who are reportedly being targeted for liquidation by unnamed groups in Mindanao.
“We are ready to provide security kung mayroon pong lalapit sa amin at kung nangangailangan po talaga ng ating tulong, handa po tayo na magbigay ng seguridad (We are ready to provide security to those who really need it),” she said. (Jill Beltran/Sunnex)