12 Mar 2016

Palace extends condolences for passing of Ambassador Antonio Cabangon Chua
Malacanang extended its condolences for the passing of former ambassador Antonio Cabangon Chua who died on Friday.

“Former Ambassador Antonio Cabangon Chua was an exemplary business and social entrepreneur who unfailingly manifested his commitment to Philippine progress in diverse fields of endeavor,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr said in a statement on Saturday.

“In the field of mass communications, he has established print and broadcast media organizations that have gained broad-based patronage and recognition. We extend our condolences to his bereaved family.”

Cabangon-Chua, 81, passed away on Friday. He is the chairman of the Nine Media Corporation, acquired Radio Philippines Network Inc. (RPN-9) in 2014, which was later relaunched as CNN Philippines in a tie-up with Turner Broadcasting System.

Cabangon-Chua also founded the Citystate Savings Bank, Fortune Life Insurance Co., Inc., Eternal Plans, Inc., Citystate Properties and Management Corp., and Isuzu GenCars Inc., among others.

He also established media entities such as Philippines Graphic, Business Mirror, Pilipino Mirror, and Aliw Broadcasting Corp.

During the Arroyo administration, Cabangon-Chua served as the country’s ambassador to Laos. PND (as)

Government sticks to no-ransom policy in dealing with recent hostage situation in Mindanao, says Malacanang official
The Palace said it will let the military resolve the hostage crisis in Mindanao involving two Canadians and a Norwegian, adding the government will stick to its no-ransom policy.

The Abu Sayyaf Group, who was holding two Canadians and a Norwegian threatened to kill their hostages unless ransom money is paid.

But the military says it will not negotiate with the extremist group stressing it is catching up with the bandits and this is the reason why the Abu Sayyaf is rushing the payment of ransom.

In a radio interview on Saturday, Undersecretary Manuel Quezon III of the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office, said the Department of Foreign Affairs is keeping in close contact with the governments of the nationals being held hostage as well as with their families.

He also refused to comment on the ongoing operations of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police considering the sensitive nature of those operations.

“At the same time, let us not dignify by communicating …. with people who have broken the law and who are causing misery to innocent civilians whether Filipino or foreign,” he told dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.

“Let us remain committed to our confidence in our Armed Forces and police to handle the situation; to our DFA to properly coordinate and inform foreign governments and the families of those involved.”

“And let us all say a silent prayer that these visitors to our country remain safe… and that they will be rescued at the soonest possible time.”

The Palace official also insisted that no ransom will be paid to the extremist in order to deter others from doing similar activity.

Islamic militants released a video recording this week setting a one-month deadline for millions of pesos to be paid in exchange for the freedom of the hostages.

In the video posted on a local jihadist group’s Facebook page, the emaciated victims said they would be killed if the ransom was not paid.

Among those being held hostage include Canadian tourists John Ridsdel and Robert Hall, Norwegian resort manager Kjartan Sekkingstad and Filipina Marites Flor. They were seized from yachts at a marina in Mindanao in September. PND (as)