"What this Country needs is not a change OF men but a change IN men" March 1980

Monday, March 23, 2009

ICRC workers' safety is paramount

Independent Senator Richard J. Gordon today asserted his rights to be involved in finding immediate resolution to the 68-day ordeal of the three International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) workers who were held captive in Sulu.

Gordon, chairman of the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC), said he had to intervene in order to stave off the Abu Sayyaf's threat to behead one of his three ICRC colleagues when military troops attacked their captors' lair in broad daylight.

"We have to act firmly and carefully at all times. It is simply holding the best interest of our people, our colleagues in the Red Cross, the soldiers and the high interest of our country at hand," he said in an interview over ANC.

Gordon also serves as a governing board member of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. He is also vice chairman of the Senate national defense committee.

According to him, his intervention had thwarted not only the execution of one of his ICRC colleagues but also freed them from what he referred to as "immediate clear and present dangers" of attacks the military troops launched against their captors.

"After that attack on Monday, there was an immediate threat (to behead) and we had to act. The Abu Sayyaf talked to me, and I was told they were going to kill one of the hostages. That is when I acted," he added.

Gordon denied he had ordered, and much less insisted, the withdrawal of neither the military troops nor the civilian volunteer officers.

"I never advocated any withdrawal (of troops). In fact, I have always told them (military) to put enough pressure so they (Abu Sayyaf) will continue talking. The only time we asked the withdrawal is when there was imminent danger to life," he said.

ASG leader Albader Parad had originally agreed to release one of the hostages in exchange for the repositioning of the troops. However, the order to withdraw had already been carried out even before the agreement was settled.

As a result, the agreement was called off and the Abu Sayyaf instead asked to grab two-thirds of Jolo through the further withdrawal of the military, including civilian volunteers.

Gordon said it was never his intention to interfere with the military operations against the Abu Sayyaf Group but was only compelled because there were imminent dangers posed against the three ICRC workers.

"We are talking about lives here. We have to be very, very judicious. Thank God we were able to stave off the execution and we were able to talk with the hostages, finally we have proof of life and we were able to prevent further attacks," he said.


Blogger icrc09 said...

How Gordon became an honorary Abu Sayaff member


It was a seige.

Pursuing Marines had cornered Abu Sayaff abductors of ICRC volunteers at the Western tip of Jolo island, just east of the town of Silangkan. With their backs to the sea, where the Philippine Navy lay in wait, a pair of mountains to the northeast and east, pursuing rescuers and a blocking force in Parang to the south had the bandits in a vise, above which Air Force gunships stood watch.

As the vise tightened, ASG supplies dwindled. Their numbers were sapped by attrition as well desertions. They were were becoming desperate. The seige's end was drawing near. Time was on the government's side.

But the leader of the Abu Sayaff group, Parad, had a secret weapon. His name: D-i-c-k Gordon

As Chairman of the Philippine National Red Cross and Rear Admiral of the Philippine Coast Guard Auxilliary, the Honorable Senator understandably felt pressure appear to do something about the situation. With 2010 around the corner, what better time to prove that his rank and position were not merely honorary, and attain the "combat command" experience, that he hitherto lacked, under his belt. Adding another honorary title couldn't hurt either.

So he did do something . . . he worked to let the Abu Sayaff get away.

Armed with intelligence briefings from GHQ officers who were not familiar with the terrain, and relying on his illusionary grasp of the tactical situation, he brokered a deal that would weaken the military vise that had put a stranglehold on the Abu Sayaff.

A "gentleman's agreement" he said. How people who abduct unarmed volunteers could EVER be called "gentlemen", is something that only a politician with presidential ambitions could understand.

Gordon's masterstroke is shown below


With the government forces repositioned south of Jolo township, the seige had been essentially abandoned. Imagine Manny Pacquiao suddenly dropping his guard, and then offering his jaw to an opponent that was already at the ropes.

Defeat had been snatched from the jaws of victory.

The new ease of access, combined with the lure of easy ransom money and an apparently gullible government -- personified by Gordon -- swelled the previously dwindling Abu Sayaff ranks. The Abu Sayaff's number had grown, and as feared, they had escaped the vise.

It was an outcome as predictable as the fate of the "gentleman's agreement". As of writing, the hostages continue to enhance their first-hand knowledge of the Stockholm syndrome.

What was at first a difficult situation, has become doubly so.

Marines paid a heavy price to set up the vise. In efforts to rescue three hostages, 6 marines had already lost their lives, and scores more wounded.

These deaths and sacrifices are now all for nothing.

Good job . . . D-I-C-K!!!!

1:04 PM

Blogger brassballs said...

Three Marines dead and many wounded, three brave soldiers not going back home alot wounded soldiers going home traumatized for life and I don't see Gordon crying for them were are the tears?

I understand the ICRC's mission I understand their neutrality, and I really do appreciate their countless works and missions that helped a lot of people, people that lost all hopes of getting anything from government and I really laud their effort.

But this does not mean that once their personnel ended up victims or being held as hostages ICRC or PNRC VIP's (Gordon) can dictate the AFP's effort and the local crisis team in trying to pursue and negotiate with the terrorists. Gordon's media grand standing made me sick to my stomach and later made me fuming mad I now realize how low a politicians can go. Gordon's verbal tussles with other personalities and blame game just made the Abu sayyaf leadership more confident that they can get away with basically everything.

Sen.Gordon you are not fighting for the hostages safe release, you are prolonging their ordeal and thus prolonging the terrorists torment not only to the poor hostages but the civilian population as well. Your intention might be good but your actions betrayed your intentions. You are causing more harm than good when you cause undue pressure to the local crisis committee and the AFP, You think you are helping? No you are not, we people who are looking from the outside in and watches the event unfold view your useless grandstanding as part of a lousy circus act.

Why don't you go to Sulu and mediate yourself since you had been trying to forced upon our throats how you had "saved" the hostages from being beheaded and how you worked hard for their release, you are at the safe confines in your office sorrounded by your creatures of comfort.

Parad has you on a string so tight that when he sneezes in Sulu he can yank you by the neck and you start singing like a parrot, It is a damn shame he played you like that you became his "mouthpiece" so to speak you might not want to but you already are.

In the mean time the soldiers family mourn their dead, shed their tears and celebrate their life. I would like for you to shed tears on this poor soldiers too, these underpaid, ill equipped and over worked bastards. Who are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice at a short notice. I would hope you will shed real tears for this poor fellow this time..


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