STATEMENT OF THE ZAMBOANGA-ISABELA INTEGRATED DEVELOPMENT ALLIANCE (ZABIDA) AND THE NAGDILAAB FOUNDATION, INC. (NFI) ON THE RELEASE OF NFI PROGRAM DIRECTOR ESPERENCITA "ESPIE" HUPIDA. NAGDILAAB Foundation, Inc.
Program Director Esperancita "Espie" Hupida was released at about 2:00 A.M. today, October 29, 2008 in the hinterlands of Tipo-Tipo Municipality, Basilan Province.
Ms. Hupida was abducted on September 15, 2008 in Tipo-Tipo along with Manila-based humanitarian worker Merlie "Milet" Mendoza, who remains in the hands of their captors.
ZABIDA and NFI are immensely relieved and happy over the release of heir colleague Hupida. We are glad to note that she is in good physical and emotional health; she reported that she did not suffer inordinately while in captivity.
With her release, we are enjoined to enter into and pursue a process and period of healing for her, her family, her fellow workers in NFI and ZABIDA and the local civil society and development communities.
The tremendous challenges of bringing development, human security and peace in Basilan Province and the immediate region do not afford us the luxury of despair and discouragement.
The kidnapping of Hupida, on the contrary, strengthens our resolve and vision to carry on the humanitarian work for the poor, neglected and suffering people. We remain apprehensive over the safety and well-being of Milet Mendoza as well as the two other kidnap victims still in the hands of the kidnappers.
These past and present kidnappings of defenseless civilians pose a serious and unequivocal challenge to our government authorities, local and national as well as civilian and military and religious, to finally bring to an end to this scourge and shame particularly inflicted in Basilan by unscrupulous residents of the province itself.
For as long as this threat remains, all of Basilan itself is held hostage by these bands of criminals, and as such there can be no peace and progress for the residents and those who come to their place with nothing but the best of intentions.
Finally, we thank very sincerely all the people who helped facilitate the release of Hupida, particularly Vice-Governor Al-Rashid Sakalahul and the members of the Provincial Crisis Committee.
May God bless us all.
REV. FR. ANGEL A. CALVO, CMF
NFI and ZABIDA
DR. GRACE J. REBOLLOS
Reach Out to Others Foundation
SR. EMMA DELGADO, OP
Peace Advocates Zamboanga
Katilingban Para Sa Kalambuan, Inc.