Pinay killed in Pakistan hotel blast

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — THE Philippine government strongly condemned the bombing of the Pearl Continental Hotel in Peshawar, Pakistan Tuesday that left 11 people dead, including a Filipino worker of the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund.

The Department of Foreign Affairs yesterday confirmed that UNICEF staffer Perseveranda So was among the casualties of the bomb attack.

“This senseless terrorist attack on innocent civilians is an unspeakable crime and can never be justified,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo said.

Romulo ordered the Philippine Embassy in Islamabad to facilitate the repatriation of So’s remains.

“I send my prayers to the family and loved ones of Ms. So, who has worked with UNICEF since 1994 and who was serving as a respected chief of education in Pakistan at the time of her untimely demise,” he said.

He added that the Filipino people joined the UNICEF in mourning the loss of an exemplary international civil servant who had dedicated and risked her life to helping Pakistani girls gain access to education.

The UNICEF is greatly saddened by the death of So.

“Persy, as she was known to her colleagues, was a dedicated and highly committed staff member, who worked with grace and determination as chief of education in Pakistan, earning the respect and admiration of all those with whom she came into contact,” said UNICEF executive director Ann M. Veneman.

Vanessa Tobin, country representative in the Philippines, added: “Persy made a huge contribution to improving education for millions of children in the Philippines. As UNICEF’s chief of education, she was instrumental in introducing the Child Friendly School System to the country, and she successfully advocated for the passage of a law on early child education. She was driven by a belief that education was the key to reducing poverty in-the Philippines.