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PNoy oversees search and rescue for Robredo, pilots

MANILA, Philippines (Xinhua) - President Benigno S. Aquino III flew to Masbate early this morning to personally oversee the search and rescue effort for missing Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo and two pilots after their light plane crashed yesterday afternoon.

Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said today that throughout last night, search and rescue operations for Robredo and his party continued and more government assets are being deployed to intensify the search.

"In the meantime, the president... flew to Masbate at 5:45 a.m. to personally observe the search and rescue effort," he said.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said the white 6-seater Piper Seneca plane carrying Robredo, his aide-de-camp Jhun Abrasado, and two pilots, namely Capt. Jessup Bahinting and Kshitiz Chand, a Nepalese flight student, crashed at around 4:30 p.m. yesterday off Ibingay, Masbate.

Abrasado was rescued by passing fishermen while Robredo and the two other pilots are now the subject of the search and rescue operations, the NDRRMC said. (