By PNA and U.S. News Agency / Asian
President Benigno S. Aquino III left for Masbate province early Sunday morning to personally lead the search-and-rescue operations for Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo who went missing after the white Piper Seneca plane he and his companions chartered crashed off the coast of the province on Saturday afternoon, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said.
In a statement, Lacierda said the President is joined by Transportation and Communications Secretary Manuel Roxas II, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin.
Philippine National Police Director-General Nicanor Bartolome, Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Jessie Dellosa, Manila International Airport Authority General Manager Bodet Honrado and Philippine Coast Guard Vice Admiral Edmund Tan were also with the President who took a Philippine Air Force C-130 cargo plane to Masbate province at 5:45 a.m.
Lacierda said the search-and-rescue operations efforts for Robredo will continue today with “more assets being deployed this morning to intensify the search.”
“In the meantime, the President, along with Secretaries Roxas, Abad, Gazmin, and Representative Abaya flew to Masbate at 5:45 a.m. to personally observe the search-and- rescue efforts. We will be issuing more updates as they become available,” Lacierda said.
In an update posted on Saturday night (9 p.m.), Secretary Roxas said a U.S. Fleet Survey team in Cavite has joined the search-and-rescue operations in Masbate.
Meanwhile, Lacierda announced that a vigil for the successful rescue of Secretary Robredo will resume at 3 p.m. Sunday at La Salle Greenhills, with a Mass scheduled at 5 p.m.
Both will be open to the public.