Filipino detainee missing after Indonesia earthquake, tsunami
MANILA, Philippines – A Filipino detained at the Bureau of Corrections in Palu, Indonesia, is missing after a magnitude 7.5 earthquake and tsunami killed more than 800 people in the Philippines' neighboring country.
The detainee, who remains unidentified, was the only Filipino in Palu when the twin disasters took place on Friday, September 28.
Oscar Orcine, the Philippines' consul general in Manado, Indonesia, said on ANC that the Filipino detainee "is one of 800 prisoners or detainees who are now missing" because the Bureau of Corrections building "was damaged by the earthquake and tsunami."
He said this was why "the prisoners were forced to get out, although people say they escaped."
Referring to the Filipino detainee, Orcine said: "I visited him last month. He was in good health. But after this incident, we are continuing our efforts to search for him, to make sure that he is safe."
The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), citing Philippine Ambassador to Indonesia Leehiong Wee, said on Saturday, September 29, that the Filipino detainee "is safe."
Asked about the DFA’s earlier statement, Orcine said on Monday that the DFA’s report "was the earlier information we got from a corrections officer."
"However, as I said, early this morning, at 6 o'clock, we were informed that…all of the detainees have escaped because the building was destroyed by the earthquake and the tsunami," Orcine added.
Indonesia appealed for international help as Indonesian volunteers dug mass graves after the earthquake and tsunami.
"We stand ready to respond and extend any assistance, taking into account particular needs on the ground as may be indicated by Indonesia, a close neighbor and fellow ASEAN member," the DFA said on Monday. – Rappler.com