Posted by Editor on 16th April 2007
Military joins search for missing US Peace Corp volunteer!
MANILA — Hundreds of government forces are helping look for US peace volunteer Julia Campbell who has been reported missing in Ifugao for over a week already, a military official said on Monday.
In a press briefing at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City, Armed Forces public information officer Bartolome Bacarro said a company of Army soldiers has joined the search initially mounted by an inter-agency group that includes the police.
As of Monday, Bacarro said ground forces from the Army 502nd Brigade commanded by Colonel Victor Felix mounted ground search, complemented by a number of Philippine Air Force helicopters attached to the Army unit.
Bacarro expressed optimism that the military or the other members of the search and rescue groups would soon find the 40-year-old Campbell but he admitted that the military’s efforts have so far yielded negative results.
“As of today (Monday), we still have no development but our efforts are continuing in coordination with the other agencies involved in the search for Ms. Campbell,” said Bacarro, adding that the search would continue until the peace volunteer is found.
The inter-agency group has divided Ifugao into quadrants where people involved in the search would be given an area of coverage where to conduct the search.
Bacarro said the strategy would prevent a group from searching an area that has been already searched. “They (inter-agency groups) have divided the area into quadrants so that the search would be organized,” he said.
“(We) would be providing assistance in terms of search and rescue.
Some of our efforts will be focused on search and rescue operations,”
said Bacarro, adding that the military is optimistic that Campbell would be found alive.
“I don’t want to say that harm has beset Ms Campbell. We are optimistic that she is still there. We would like to be as optimistic as possible,” said Bacarro of the US volunteer who was last seen on April 8.
The military official said Felix assured him that “all efforts are being exerted to locate Ms. Campbell. Actually, he has already sent representative coming from the (Army) brigade to orchestrate the effort,” he said.
Bacarro said the military does not believe that Campbell had been abducted.
“We have no feelers that would indicate there is kidnapping involved,” he said.
He also doubted that communist New People’s Army (NPA) could have taken custody of Campbell because the military has not monitored any rebel activities in the provinces for some time already.
“As of now, we cannot give credence to reports that that she
(Campbell) was abducted by the NPA. For the past years, there were no reports of rebel presence in the area. But we are not discounting the possibility,” he added.
Bacarro said the military is treating Campbell as only missing although he admitted that authorities have yet to establish why the US volunteer has gone missing. “Right now, it (kidnapping) is not in the picture yet,” he said.
If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!