Philippines thanks Nigeria for release of 8 Filipinos

May. 09, 2007

MANILA — President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo thanked and congratulated today the government of Nigeria for its successful efforts that led to the expeditious release of eight overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) seized last week by militants at a power plant construction site.

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said in his regular weekly press briefing in Malacanang this afternoon that based on the data given to him by Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Esteban Conejos, the eight migrant workers were released at around 12 midnight on Tuesday Nigeria time (around 5 p.m. Manila time).

“They are all in good physical health,” Ermita said, adding that the freed Filipino workers have been moved from Port Harport to Lagos, Nigeria and are expected to be repatriated to Manila on Friday morning.

He said the expeditious release of the victims was a result of the close coordination between the Philippine and Nigerian governments and Daewoo company, the Korean firm that contracted the services of the eight Filipinos.

Ermita stressed that no ransom money was paid.

“The practice has always been that we do not negotiate, we do not pay ransom money. We let the company who contracted the services do the negotiations,” Ermita explained.

South Koreas top builder Daewoo Engineering and Construction site in Nigeria has a total 53 Filipino workers.

The release came as southern Nigerias high profile armed group, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, sabotaged three pipelines and vowed to keep up its attack on oil targets.

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