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American Forces Press Service

Pentagon Aids Search for Missing Philippine Official

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 20, 2012 – The Defense Department is helping the Philippine government search for the nation’s interior secretary, who has been missing since his plane crashed two days ago, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said today.

Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo and two pilots have not been heard from since their small plane crashed about 500 meters offshore Aug. 18, Little told reporters. An aide escaped the plane after the crash, he added.

The Philippine government asked the United States for help in the search and rescue operation, Little said.

“Secretary Robredo is a respected and valuable leader and partner in the Philippines,” he said. “Our thoughts are with those in the aircraft, their families, and with the people of the Philippines during this difficult time.”

Little noted the United States provided initial aerial support following the plane crash upon request and is preparing to provide additional assistance. The Philippine government also has requested underwater assistance, and Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta has approved that assistance, Little said.

“We’re finalizing plans to support the search and rescue operation with underwater salvage assets,” he added.

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