Activist teacher, health worker in Cebu go missing after reported 'surveillance'

James Relativo - Philstar.com
Activist teacher, health worker in Cebu go missing after reported 'surveillance'
The photo shows missing Cebu activists Dyan Gumanao (left) and Armand Dayoha (right)
Released / Anakbayan

MANILA, Philippines — Two progressive development workers, Dyan Gumanao and Armand Dayoha, scheduled to return to Cebu last January 10 reportedly went missing after spending the holidays with their families — this after a series of suspected surveillance dating back to 2020.

According to a release by Karapatan - Central Visayas, Friday, Gumanao and Dayoha have stopped all communication with family, friends and co-workers since Thurdsday.

"After three whole days without any communication to their families and co-workers, their parents and co-workers have decided to seek help from government agencies in trying to locate Dyan and Armand and ensure their safety," said Karapatan Friday.

"This has effectively raised the alarm for Dyan and Armand’s loved ones, given reports of suspected surveillance and tailing beginning 2020 that have noticeably grown more frequent in the past months."

News about their dissappearance come just a few days after the Human Rights Watch came out with their "World Report 2023," which have observed the active use of social media by state forces for the purposes of red-tagging.

Dyan and Armand: Who are they?

Dyan and Armand, both graduates of UP Cebu, were known to be politically active since their days in the student movement.

After graduating cum laude in their Mass Communications program, Dyan became a lecturer in UP Cebu. Afterwards, she volunteered for the Alliance of Concerened TEachers (ACT) to further advance the rights and welfare of educators. Just this 2022, she became ACT's coordinator in Cebu.

"Nanilbihan din siya {Dyan] bilang Vice Chairperson of the UP Cebu University Student Council. Ikinampanya rin niya hanggang sa magtagumpay ang pagkamit ng libreng edukasyon sa kolehiyo bilang Vice President for Visayas ng National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) at dating coordinator ng Kabataan Partylist - Cebu," said the party-list group, Saturday.

Armand, on the other hand, is a Psychology graduate from the same university unit and is currently finishing his second degree program in Fine Arts. He has also been an NSTP lecturer in the same campus since 2015.

During the pandemic, he was one of the volunteered that helped address local issues of workers and the urban poor in Mandaue.

"Itinayo niya ang Cebu-based cultural group Art and Tankard Organization (ATO). Naging istaff din siya ng Visayas Human Development Agency (VIHDA), isang NGO na nagsusulong ng karapatan ng mga manggagawa," Kabataan said.

"Kasalukuyang siyang volunteer ng Alliance of Health Workers."

'Tailing, surveillance since 2020'

According to Karapatan, Dyan and Armand have been reporting to friends and loved ones that they have been observing "persistent suspected surviellance and tailing," allegedly targeting them.

Dyan was part of the "Cebu 8," who were arrested during a protest action in UP Cebu meant to express oppossition against the then Anti-Terror Bill.

"Last January 2021, after another peaceful protest in commemoration of the Mendiola Massacre, Dyan and Armand were also tailed by non-uniformed state forces until they were able to find a public place," the human rights group said.

"After this incident, there were reports of rampant red-tagging and death threats to union leaders of Cebu. Under the new Marcos regime, in the last quarter of last year, 2022, Dyan had also experienced numerous instances of tailing by suspected state forces."

Both Karapatan and Kabataan party-list demand the "urgent action and cooperation" of state forces to identify the whereabout of dyan and Armand and to surface them if possible.

Philstar.com had sought the comment of Philippine National Police spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo about the two's dissappearance, but have yet to make a statement.

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