- The Canadian Ambassador to the Philippines wants to meet personally with President-elect Rodrigo Duterte
- He wishes to discuss the kidnappings conducted by the Abu Sayaff, as well as possible trade opportunities
- Two Canadian nationals were beheaded by the Abu Sayaff earlier this year
The Ambassador of Canada to the Philippines expressed his desire to have a discussion with President-elect Rodrigo Duterte about the kidnappings conducted by the Abu Sayaff group (ASG), as well as possible trade opportunities.
Ambassador Neil Reeder says he hopes that the government would intensify its efforts to defeat the ASG and seek out justice for their victims.
“We would like to see more foreign tourists to choose the Philippines as a destination of choice. And obviously security and safety for foreign tourists and community is very, very important. I cannot emphasize this enough that a safe and secure environment for foreigners who are visiting is necessary,” Reeder told Manila Bulletin.
Earlier this year, two Canadian nationals, John Ridsdel and Robert Hall, were abducted together with Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad and Hall’s Filipina fiance Marites Flor, from a luxury resort in Samal Island in the Davao Region and eventually brought to the jungles of Sulu.
The two Canadians were eventually beheaded after the Canadian government refused to pay for their ransom, following its policy against shelling out money it believes would simply fund terrorist activities.
“The government of Canada will not and cannot pay ransoms for hostages to terrorist groups, as doing so would endanger the lives of more Canadians,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.
The Filipina was released following the beheading while the Norwegian currently remains in captivity.
President-elect Duterte has since apologized to Trudeau for the beheading of Ridsdel when the latter called to congratulate him for his electoral victory on May 9.
Following the beheading of the second Canadian national, Duterte said he would be confronting the ASG head on, telling GMA News that their kidnap for ransom modus has become an embarrassment for the Philippines in the international stage.