ILO urged to look into apparent abduction of Cebu development workers

ILO urged to look into apparent abduction of Cebu development workers
The photo shows Cebu activists Dyan Gumanao (left) and Armand Dayoha (right)
Released / Anakbayan

MANILA, Philippines — Two Cebu activists who had been reported missing for days have been found and allies and supporters are calling for an investigation into their apparent abduction.

Social media posts raising concern regarding the whereabouts of Dyan Gumanao and Armand Dayoha circulated last week as the two were supposed to return to Cebu on January 10 after a vacation with family. A text message from Gumanao indicated that the ferry they were on had already docked in Cebu City and that they were waiting to disembark.

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

Karapatan - Central Visayas noted that the two were unreachable for three days and that their families only recently confirmed they were found on Monday. 

“[With] the families, friends, colleagues of union organizers Dyan Gumanao and Armand Dahoya, we feel relief in the news that they have been rescued from the clutches of their captors,” Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay said in a Twitter post on Monday. 

The two were abducted in broad daylight while at Pier 6 in Cebu Port, video shared by an anonymous contributor suggests. The two were taken into a vehicle at around 9 a.m. on January 10 just as passengers were disembarking from MV 2Go Maligaya.

“The High Level Tripartite Mission of the International Labor Organization should immediately look into this case as soon as the delegates commence their investigation on the violations on the right to freedom of association and right to organize,” Palabay added. 

Meanwhile, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers made a similar call for the ILO-HLTM to “give due attention” to the case, which happened days before the international organization goes to the country to hold an investigation on trade union rights repression in the country.

“Violations of this right and attacks on unionists and union organizers should be deemed as criminal acts and its perpetrators should be meted with equally grave punishment,” ACT Philippines Chairperson Vladimer Quetua said in a separate statement.

READ: Workers hopeful ILO visit will lead to better environment for labor, unions

According to an advisory dated January 13 from Karapatan - Central Visayas, Gumanao and Dahoya have noted that they feel being observed and tailed by suspected state forces. The two are active development workers and rights advocates in Cebu.

Gumanao was also among the eight arrested during a peaceful protest action against the Anti-Terror Bill held in UP Cebu in 2020. The two were also tailed by non-uniformed state forces when they joined a peaceful protest to commemorate the Mendiola Massacre in January 2021. 

In the last quarter of last year, Gumanao also reported numerous times that she was tailed by suspected state forces.

Karapatan has since called for an investigation into what happened to the two who were in the hands of their perpetrators for five days.  

"The abduction of the victims is reminiscent of the militarist antics during the dark days of Martial Law," Karapatan - Central Visayas Spokesman Dennis Abarientos said in a statement on Monday.

"It is utterly reprehensible that such impunity is replicated with wanton intensity in this era of the deposed Dictator’s son."

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