- Title: IRAQ: PHILLIPINE TROOPS BEGIN PULLOUT FROM IRAQ.
- Date: 19th July 2004
- Summary: (U3) HILLA, IRAQ (JULY 19, 2004) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 1. GV/PAN: VARIOUS OF CARS CARRYING FILIPINO SOLDIERS LEAVING POLISH CAMP WHERE FILIPINO TROOPS ARE STATIONNED, FILIPINO SOLDIERS IN CARS WAVING TO CAMERAMEN (3 SHOTS) 0.32 2. GV: PHILIPPINE SOLDIERS STANDING NEAR BUS 0.37 3. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) IRAQI CITIZEN, SAYING: "We do not approve of the situation (hostage taking and beheading threat) which led to the withdrawal of the Philippine troops because it is inhumane." 0.45 4. GV/PAN: BUS CARRYING PHILIPPINE SOLDIERS LEAVING 0.51 (W2) MANILA, PHILIPPINES (JULY 19, 2004) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) (AS 10687/04) 5. PLANE CARRYING BRIGADIER-GENERAL JOVITO PALPARAN ARRIVING AT THE NINOY AQUINO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT 6. BRIGADIER-GENERAL PALPARAN WALKING THHROUGH AIRPORT SURROUNDED BY MEDIA 7. (SOUNDBITE) (Filipino) BRIGADIER- GENERAL JOVITO PALPARAN SAYING: "I am happy to be back. Our troops back there are all OK" (W2) BUENAVISTA, PHILIPPINES (JULY 19, 2004) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) (AS 10687/04) 8. WIDE OF SIGNING OF CONTRACT FOR HOUSE 9. MEXICO MAYOR TEDDY TUMANG 10. CLOSE-UP CONTRACT, PULL OUT TO HANDSHAKE BETWEEN MAYOR AND SISTER NELIA CAYANAN 11. SIBLINGS OF ANGELO DISPLAYING COPY OF CONTRACT TO JOURNALISTS 12. (SOUNDBITE) (Filipino) SISTER BETH DE LA CRUZ SAYING: "We just hope that the Iraqi militants will keep their promise of releasing Angelo since the humanitarian contingent have already pulled out." 13. WIDE OF ANGELO DE LA CRUZ HOUSE 14. YELLOW RIBBON 15. POLICEMEN (W2) BUENAVISTA, PHILIPPINES (JULY 18, 2004) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) (AS 10687/04) 16. VARIOUS OF CANDLELIGHT PRAYER, ROSARY Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
- Embargoed: 3rd August 2004 13:00
- Location: HILLA, IRAQ/ MANILA AND BUENAVISTA, PHILIPPINES
- Country: Iraq
- Reuters ID: LVA9L9JXFC7I8QJGUEQA9JHDPNVT
- Story Text: Philippine troops pull out of Iraq after the
government gave in to militants holding a Filipino hostage,
straining its alliance with Washington.
The remaining 40 Filipino soldiers left their base
in Hilla, south of Baghdad, on Monday (July 19) following
the Philippine government's decision to withdraw all troops.
The withdrawal meets a deadline of July 20 -- a month
before the Philippine team's mandate ran out -- set by
militants who abducted Filipino truck driver Angelo de la
Cruz and threatened to kill him unless Manila withdrew from
Eleven of the 51-member Philippine contingent have
already arrived in Kuwait from Iraq and were expected to
reach Manila on Monday. The remaining 40 are expected to
have pulled out by Monday night, also travelling via Kuwait
from where they are expected to return later in the week.
The soldiers and police officers have been serving as
part of a non-combat contingent that was deployed in August
last year as part of the multinational force.
The Philippine government's decision has drawn
criticism from the United States, a major military and aid
donor to Manila, and from Iraq. Washington sought to
persuade her not to cave in and Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari
said on Sunday the move amounted to giving
in to terrorism.
Despite the growing anger at foreign occupation of
their country, many Iraqis have expressed their disgust
with the hostage takers.
"We do not approve of the situation (hostage taking and
beheading threat) which led to the withdrawal of the
Philippine troops because it is inhumane," one man said in
The head of the contingent, Brigadier-General Jovito
Palparan, arrived in Manila early on Monday on a commercial
flight from Kuwait.
"I am happy to be back," Palparan told reporters at the
Manila international airport. "Our troops back there are
There was no word on kidnapped truck driver Angelo de
la Cruz, who was abducted while driving fuel into Iraq from
Saudi Arabia. He was last seen in a video shown by Arabic
satellite channel Al Jazeera on Thursday (July 15) in which
he said he would be coming home. The group holding the
father of eight said it would free him only after Manila
withdrew its last soldier.
Meanwhile, there was jubilation in De la Cruz's
hometown of Buenavista, Pampanga as the news of troop
withdrawal reached family and friends.
"We just hope that the Iraqi militants will keep their
promise of releasing Angelo since the humanitarian
contingent have already pulled out," said Angelo's sister,
In the latest video tape, the 46-year-old father of
eight wore a polo shirt and looked in good health. In
previous tapes he sat in front of gunmen and was dressed in
an orange jumpsuit similar to those worn by other foreign
hostages, some of them later beheaded.
The family has been awarded a 100 square metre housing
lot and a house to be built by a local construction
company. A warm welcome has been prepared, with yellow
ribbons tied around the village.
Despite criticism from the United States and other
allies, analysts say the decision to withdraw is unlikely
to derail Manila's close alliance with Washington, although
the relationship has been strained and it may result in a
slowing of U.S. aid.
Arroyo's support ratings following her May election
victory seem unlikely to be dented at home by the end of a
deployment that was not particularly popular.
Left-wing groups had staged small but noisy protests
calling for the withdrawal, and Arroyo faced broad pressure
to secure de la Cruz's release as he became a symbol of the
8 million Filipinos working abroad to support families back
Insurgents are also holding an Egyptian truck driver
and perhaps a Bulgarian. One kidnapped Bulgarian has
already been killed and hopes are fading for the other.
Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's group Tawhid
and Jihad, believed to be behind the kidnapping of the
Bulgarians, has also killed an American and a South Korean
Zarqawi has claimed responsibility for many of the
deadliest car bombings in Iraq and is the U.S. military's
prime target in the country, with a $25 million price on
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