Kin of OFWs slain by Islamic State in Libya seek closure 5 years after killings

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 06 2020 06:27 PM

MANILA - The families of four Filipino migrant workers believed to be executed by terror group Islamic State in Libya in 2015 are clamoring for closure as the bodies of the victims were never recovered by authorities.

The kin of Donato Santiago, Gregorio Titan, Roladan Blaza, and Wilson Eligue have accepted the fate of the workers, the Philippine foreign ministry said in a statement on Friday, exactly 5 years after they were abducted by the extremists at the al-Ghani oilfield on March 6, 2015.

Cato said they were informed the workers' remains were buried somewhere Derna City, more than a 12-hour drive from where they were abducted. He assured that the embassy was in touch with Value Added Oilfield Services -- the Australian energy company who had employed the OFWs -- and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which is leading efforts to find and recover the remains of the victims.

“We need to help the families find closure,” Chargè d’Affaires Cato said in a statement. “We hope our four kababayans would be found soon so we can bring them home and reunite them with their loved ones.”

DFA noted that at the time they were abducted, Santiago was a heavy equipment mechanic from Mandaluyong, Titan was a kitchen helper from Laguna, Blaza was a helper cook from Laguna, and Eligue was a production operator from Bataan.

He said authorities are hoping that the security situation in the area is stable enough to allow the recovery and identification of their remains, amid the ongoing conflict between the eastern-based military commander Khalifa Haftar and the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA).

The four Filipinos were seized along with 5 workers from Austria, the Czech Republic and Bangladesh during the Islamic State's onslaught from 2014 to 2015, which enabled the extremist organization to take control of a large part of Iraq and Syria and some parts in Libya while wreaking havoc in parts of Europe.

The Derna Shura Council, according to DFA, said a video from a laptop recovered from slain IS members showed the Filipinos being executed by the radicals.