As of this writing, the world awaits for news about Angelito Nayan who was abducted together with two other election volunteers in Afghanistan. The deadline set by the Jaish-al Muslimeen, a Taliban splinter group has expired hours ag0 but there has been been no information yet on the hostages’ fate. Department of Labor and Employment Secretary Patricia Sto. Tomas has expressed her high hopes that Nayan will be released since the Philippines have not deployed any troops to Afghanistan.
Robert Tarongoy, on the other hand, the OFW kidnapped by Iraqi rebels, has been reportedly released alongside Nepalese hostage Yunus Kawari. The Nepal government has confirmed the release of Kawari but officials here are careful to give any information on Tarongoy, a policy they have learned since Sec. Sto. Tomas’ too early announcement of Angelo dela Cruz’ release.
Notice how these two hostage incidents have been treated quite differently from Angelo dela Cruz’ time? Back then, the news has been concentrated on Angelo. We got so much of Angelo on our tv sets, newspapers and radio that he became an instant celebrity. It seems like the media and even the public have already been desensitized on the issue of our kababayans being kidnapped abroad. Instead of meeting with his advisers, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo chose to get it on with the media, visiting GMA-7 network, hours before the first deadline set on Nayan.
What is frightening here is that we may end up treating kidnapping of overseas Filipino workers like any ordinary thing we’re used to, just like news of them being maltreated and returning home in coffins. Or even worse, treating them as collateral damage to pursue America’s support. I dread that day to come.