Beheaded Canadian 'loved everything about the Philippines'
MANILA, Philippines – The family of Canadian national Robert Hall, who was kidnapped then beheaded by the terror group Abu Sayyaf, mourned the death of their "self-made" relative who fell in love with the Philippines.
"He loved everything about the Philippines," the Hall family said in a statement published by The Globe and Mail on Tuesday, June 14.
"The people, he said, are warm and gracious. He took an active interest in his community and his neighbors, and coached a local soccer team," the relatives of Hall said.
They added: "The port city of Davao, where he lived, was renowned for being one of the safest places in Southeast Asia. With its mild weather, friendly people and in the company of other expats, he knew that he had found his home."
Hall was kidnapped along with his Filipina girlfriend, Maritess Flor, in a resort on Samal Island, Davao del Norte, in September 2015.
Samal Island is near Davao City, the turf of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte, who has been hailed for ensuring peace and order in Davao City throughout his two decades in office.
Backing Canada's no-ransom policy
In their statement, the Hall family added that efforts to free their relative from the Abu Sayyaf "were vast and exhaustive."
"However, our family, even in our darkest hour, agrees wholeheartedly with Canada’s policy of not paying ransom to those who would seek to undermine the fundamental values with which my father lived his life," the Hall family said.
Referring to Canada, they added, "We stand with the ideals that built this country; strength of character, resilience of spirit, and refusal to succumb to the demands of the wretched, in order to satisfy the bloodlust of the weak."
The Hall family then sought indulgence "for staying away from the media."
"We ask that all media refrain from contacting any members of the family, and to please respect our privacy as we do our best to come to terms with this unspeakable tragedy," they said.
The Palace earlier condemned the "brutal and senseless" murder of Hall.
Duterte has not issued his own statement, but his spokesman Salvador Panelo said the president-elect "would be outraged" by the incident. – Paterno Esmaquel II/Rappler.com