PRESIDENT Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has canceled his attendance to the 28th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) in Dubai due to “important developments” in the hostage situation involving 17 Filipino seafarers.
“In light of important developments in the hostage situation involving 17 Filipino seafarers in the Red Sea, I have made the decision not to attend COP28 in Dubai tomorrow,” Marcos said in a post on X (formerly Twitter).
Marcos is sending Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ma. Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga to lead the COP28 delegation instead.
“Today, I will be convening a meeting to facilitate the dispatch of a high-level delegation to Tehran, Iran, with the aim of providing necessary assistance to our seafarers,” he said.
Marcos earlier assured that the government is doing all it can to ensure the safety of the 17 Filipino seafarers taken hostage by Houthi rebels in Yemen.
The 17 Filipinos were among the 25 crew members of cargo vessel Galaxy Leader that was seized by the Houthi rebels on November 24, 2023 in retaliation for Israel’s offensive in Gaza.
The hijacked ship is operated by Japanese company Nippon Yusen K.K. but it is being linked to Israel businessman Abraham “Rami” Ungar.
The Houthi rebels earlier said that they have no intention to harm the Filipino hostages. (LMY)