Peace Corps Volunteer Julia Campbell Missing in Philippines
The Philippine police and military are searching for a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer missing for nearly a week in a mountainous northern area, officials said Saturday. Julia Campbell, 40, was last seen on April 8 in the town of Banaue in Ifugao province, where she had planned to hike alone, said U.S. Embassy spokesman Matthew Lussenhop. The area, about 160 miles north of Manila, is famed for its mountainside rice terraces and pine forests. The armed wing of the Communist Party -- the New People's Army -- also operates there.
The Peace Corps started looking for Campbell after she missed appointments on April 11. "Embassy security officials and Peace Corps security and local authorities are in that region right now looking for her or finding people who may know where she is," he said. Regional police commander Chief Superintendent Raul Gonzales said at least four teams from the provincial police office have been mobilized for the search, after the U.S. Embassy told them Campbell was missing. He said the directive to conduct the search came from the national police headquarters in Manila.
Maj. Gen. Rodrigo Maclang said members of an army company in Banaue also joined the search Saturday, after receiving an order from the military's Northern Luzon Command. A military helicopter will help with the search, he said. "We were unaware of the incident. We learned only today that someone has been missing," he said.
Campbell, of Fairfax, Va., has been teaching college in Albay province's Legazpi city, southeast of Manila, since March 2005. She was planning to hike in a hilly area near Batad village, about a mile east of Banaue's town center, the embassy said. The embassy appealed to the public for any information on the welfare and whereabouts of Campbell. It offered a reward, but did not specify an amount. Campbell, who worked as a journalist in New York, contributed a story to CNN about the death and destruction in the wake of supertyphoon Durian, which hit Legazpi in late November. Read more.
Caption (bottom photo): A Bangaan Village in Ifugao Province near Banaue. Julia Campbell had been planning to hike in a hilly area near Batad village, about a mile east of Banaue's town center. Photo: My Visita Iglesia Flickr Creative Commons Attribution 2.0