Kin of Libya kidnap victim confident gov’t will bring ‘Papa’ back home

BAGUIO CITY – The wife of one of the three Filipinos kidnapped on July 6 in Tripoli, Libya is confident her husband will return home safe through the government’s help.

Jane (not her real name) said they are in constant coordination with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), which updates them of the situation in Libya. This is aside from arranging a meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte.

Sabi ko, susundin ko ang gobyerno kasi walang ibang makakatulong sa akin kundi gobyerno (I will follow the government because only the government can help me,” she said, knowing the gravity of the situation.

Aside from constantly coordinating with the DFA, the kidnapped Filipino’s kin tried to reach his company, the Libyan media, and other possible news sources for updates.

Jane said her in last visit to the DFA on July 26, she learned that the Libyan Embassy order for the creation of a committee tasked to handle the case of her husband, Joey (not his real name) and his two other companions.

Despite a media black-out, as requested by the DFA to avoid jeopardizing plans, a video of the four kidnap victims, three of them Filipinos, went viral on social media in the early morning of August 1.

At 8 a.m., Jane immediate called up DFA to get updates.

Sabi sa akin, ‘Ginawan na natin ng paraan pero siyempre hindi pa rin namin nakita eh, wala pang location. Oo, buhay, pero ano anglocation?’ Puspusan naman sila, marami na silang ginawa (I was told ‘They are doing something but the location [of the victims] is still unknown. Yes, they are alive but in an unknown location). The government is aggressive and they are doing a lot of things),” she told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) last week.

Request to PRRD

Jane said she, her family, and the kin of the two other Filipino kidnapped victims, are asking the government, particularly President Rodrigo Duterte, to help bring home their spouses alive.

Hingi po namin na ipu-push niya talaga na makauwi. Yun lang po ang hiling namin. Hanggat maari, sa madaliang panahon mapauwi lang sila (We ask that he [President Duterte] would push for their [victims] return, That’s all we are asking for. We just want that they come home soon),” she said.

Jane explained that they do not want to resort to media hype nor approach any politician because they have confidence in the government and in the DFA.

Kahit pag minsan hindi nila kami sinasagot, kami ang umiintindi kasi sabi namin hindi kami pababayaan. Sila na lang ang kakampi –gobyerno lang ang kakampi namin, walang iba. Kahit naman pumunta kami sa politician, sa DFA din naman ang punta (Even if sometimes we don’t get replies from them (government), we try to understand because we know they won’t neglect us. They’re the only ones on our side, the government, no one else. Even if we go to a politician, we would just end up going to the DFA),” she added.

Last communication

Jane said since Joey left for Libya in 2014, he had been regularly communicating with them through video call. On July 5, he went online, but she was not able to answer him, she said.

“On July 6, I was waiting but there was no more call,” she related. Later on, she got an information about three Filipinos and a Korean kidnapped at the al Nahr company work site.

In the morning of July 9, Jane posted on her facebook account, “Lord, ibigay mo sa akin yung tao na magbibigay ng tamang impormasyon kasi talagang nag-aalala ako (Lord, please send me the person who can give me the right information, I am really worried).”

On the same day came the call from DFA, confirming that the kidnapping happened 7 a.m. on July 6. The perpetrators entered the facility. However, as of this day, Aug. 3, nobody knows of the whereabouts of the kidnapped victims.

Jane said her eldest daughter dreamt it was like a premonition of what would happen.

Mama nakita ko si Papa sa panaginip ko, kinuha sila doon sa trabaho nila. Pagkatapos noon isinakay ng truck, pagkasakay sa truck, may malaking gate, may hagdanan pababa, nandun itinago sila papa pinapanood lang ng kidnapper nila (Mom, I saw Papa in my dream. They took him at work. They rode a truck and there was a big gate, a stairway going down, where they kept him. The kidnappers were just looking at him),” she quoted her child as saying.

She said the dream was so detailed their daughter even saw water in the dream. But knowing that her father is in a dessert, she dismissed it as a mere dream.

Jane said the company where her husband works is called “great man-made river”, as it is in the business of drilling water supplied to Libya.

Difficult situation

She said Joey first went to Libya in 2014, when her youngest daughter was two years old. Their goal was to send all their children to school. Their eldest daughter is now in third-year college taking up Management Accounting. Their second is a 17-year-old boy who is in Grade 12, and the youngest is a six-year-old girl.

After four years, he came home for a vacation on April 30, 2018 and returned to Libya on June 21 after getting some legal and necessary documents. That was two weeks before Eric’s 46th birthday last July 3.

Jane said when her first two children saw their father on social media asking for help, “nag-iiyakan na sila pero sabi ko hindi anak, nakita mo naman si Papa, palaban yan (they were crying but I told them that their father is courageous).”

Right now, the family’s only source of strength is each other, as there is is no other person they can share the story with and talk to, except the government, which they trust to bring their Papa home.

There is no money for tuition fee. Food is scarce. But they are coping. Their only wish is for her husband to get home safe. Jane said they have yet to receive some financial assistance promised in the first week of July from her husband’s employer.

When they learned of the kidnapping in July, there was no money for the enrollment of their daughter. She was glad some classmates’ families contributed to help.

She said Joey decided to return to Libya and stay there for only a year, then return home for good after their eldest child graduates from college. Their daughter is determined to finish her studies, something that keeps her going.

“I asked my daughter if she can stop for a while, but she said she is her Papa’s only hope. I am determined to see her through college, so when her Papa comes home, he will see that despite the difficulties, she persevered in her studies,” Jane added.

Kakayanin ko, pero talagang kailangan namin na uuwi na lang siya (I will do this, but we just need him to come back home). We are struggling and we do not know if he is still alive, but with the video, I am confident that he is,” she added. “I told my kids, okay na si Papa, makakauwi si Papa. At pag may negative na sinasabi nila, hindi ko papansinin at sinasabi ko sa mga anak ko na ilagay nila parati sa isip nila na darating si Papa. Maghirap man tayo talagang babalik si Papa.”

Her youngest daughter, who sometimes sees her crying, is a constant source of strength for her.

“When I cry, she gives me water and tells me not to cry. When she saw the video, she told me, ‘Tara na Mama, maghatid tayo ng pagkain kay Papa. Kawawa si Papa wala siyang food, hahatiran natin siya, hintayin natin pupunta tayo sa airport, darating si Papa’,” she said.

Jane said her youngest daughter is not aware of what is happening. “We don’t tell her, para di siya magka trauma (so she won’t be traumatized),” she added.

Jane and her three children remain strong and confident, especially with their constant communication with the DFA. They have high hopes that their father and the two other Filipino hostages will be brought back home safe by the Philippine government.