Press Release
November 23, 2023

Hontiveros Urges Swift Action for Release of Filipino Seafarers Held Hostage by Houthi Rebels

Senator Risa Hontiveros on Thursday urged the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Migrant Workers to utilize all diplomatic channels and resources available to facilitate the immediate release of the Filipino seafarers currently being held hostage by the Yemen rebel group, Houthi.

"We call on the Department of Foreign Affairs to leverage its diplomatic relationships and engage with international partners to address this pressing issue. Umaasa ako na patuloy silang makikipag-ugnayan sa mga awtoridad upang makauwi ng ligtas ang ating mga kababayan," Hontiveros said.

"The government must explore all available options to bring them back to their families and loved ones in the Philippines," she furthered.

The Senator made the statement following the confirmation of the DFA on Wednesday that 17 Filipino seafarers were among the crewmen being held hostage by the Houthi rebels after seizing a cargo ship in the Red Sea.

Hontiveros also expressed her sympathy to the Filipino seafarers and their families. "Amidst these challenging times, our thoughts and prayers are with the Filipino seafarers and their families," Hontiveros said.

Likewise, she urged the DMW to be 'present' for the families by providing them steadfast support and practical assistance as they awaited rescue updates.

"Higit sa assurance, kailangan ng konkretong tulong sa kanilang pamilya. DMW should make sure that they initiate regular and transparent communication with the families to keep them informed about the situation, provide mental and emotional support, and financial assistance," she said.

Moving forward, Hontiveros underscored the need for a comprehensive and improved policy framework to effectively manage recurring hazards that OFWs, specifically seafarers, faced in the course of their work.

"Hindi lang ito ang iisang beses na nalagay sa panganib ang kanilang buhay sa gitna ng paglalayag. Dapat handa ang gobyerno para maprotektahan ang kanilang kapakanan. We cannot afford to have our OFWs facing such hazards repeatedly without a strategic and comprehensive plan in place," she said.

"The hazards faced by our seafarers only highlight the need for the passage of the Magna Carta of Seafarers Bill, of which I am happy to be co-author. Ngayong papalapit na ang pagpasa nito, umaasa akong seafarers nga ang totoong sentro ng batas na ito," Hontiveros concluded.

News Latest News Feed