News Release

PBBM skips COP28 to personally address “important developments” in hostage situation of 17 Filipino seafarers

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. will no longer attend the 28th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) in Dubai to personally address “important developments” in the hostage situation involving 17 Filipino seafarers.

“In light of important developments in the hostage situation involving 17 Filipino seafarers in the Red Sea, I have made the decision not to attend COP28 in Dubai tomorrow,” President Marcos said on his official X (formerly Twitter) account.

“Today, I will be convening a meeting to facilitate the dispatch of a high-level delegation to Tehran, Iran, with the aim of providing necessary assistance to our seafarers,” President Marcos added.

President Marcos said that he has entrusted Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Ma. Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga to lead the COP28 delegation and articulate the country’s statement on his behalf.

Before this, President Marcos assured the Filipino people that the government is doing all it can to ensure the safety of the 17 Filipino seafarers taken hostage by Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Yemeni rebels seized the cargo vessel Galaxy Leader and took hostage its 25 crewmembers, including 17 Filipinos, in retaliation for Israel’s offensive in Gaza, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

The Bahamas-flagged, British-owned Galaxy Leader, with links to Israeli businessman Abraham “Rami” Ungar, is operated by a Japanese firm. PND