Overseas Worker Welfare Administration (OWWA) Officer-in-Charge Carmelina Velasquez declares they will provide assistance and accomodation to the five hijacked Filipino seafarers captured by Somali Pirates right after arriving on Thursday, October 27.
The five seafarers captured are Arnel Pregillana Balbero, Elmer Salvador Balbero, Ferdinand Jacinto Dalit, Akes Tiniggal, and Antonio Auxtero Libres Jr.
These men will be assisted to reach their respective hometowns where they will also be recommended to undergo psychosocial counselling as part of their healing process.
“We imagine the nightmare that our kababayans went through all those times, so much so that we wish that they, together with their families, will be able to adjust and be back to their normal lives. We are thankful that they at last, are able to come home safely,” Velasquez stressed.
|Photo from Jedwin M. Llobrera / Rappler|
Crew from Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam were released through the negotiation of Oceans beyond Piracy (OBP).
According to OBP, the pirates initially took 29 crew hostages, but one person died during the incident, and two more gave in to illness during their captivity.
A Taiwanese hostage named Shen Jui-chang announced to the reporters that they were forced to eat mice, and centipedes to survive.“Every day was nerve-wracking, with the pirates pointing their AK-47 rifles at me 24 hours a day,” Shen narrated.