U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer Missing

The Associated Press
Saturday, April 14, 2007; 7:18 AM

MANILA, 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.

In 1990, the New People's Army seized Peace Corps volunteer Timothy Swanson and held him for 50 days on central Negros island. He was released unharmed to the Red Cross.

Lussenhop said 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.

Maclang said there is only a small military presence in area because "it is not a major concern now with regard to the insurgency."

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