Kidnapped community worker recounts ordeal

Elizabeth Marcelo - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — A community development worker, who was kidnapped along with her partner in Cebu by suspected agents of the state, yesterday recounted their ordeal in the hands of their captors.

April Dyan Gumanao, union coordinator of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers-Central Visayas, told a panel of the International Labor Organization (ILO) that she and Armand Jake Dayoha were kidnapped at the Port of Cebu on Jan. 10.

“We call on this mission to join us in seeking justice, and in demanding to stop the attacks against development workers, organizers, and activists in the Philippines,” Gumanao said during a meeting with the ILO-High Level Tripartite Mission (HLMT) in Makati yesterday.

“We demand a thorough investigation to ascertain the liability and complicity of the PNP and AFP,” she said, referring to the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

The ILO-HLMT yesterday started its five-day mission in the country to look into the situation of Filipino workers.

Gumanao said that men in civilian clothes, who introduced themselves as police officers, pushed them into a van.

“We were shouting for help because we saw and we knew there were a lot of security personnel in the vicinity, but we were outnumbered and no help came for us,” Gumanao said.

She said they were brought to numerous places including to an island, which they believed was Negros Occidental.

“They interrogated us about our work, the people whom we work with, and our families. We were threatened that if we would not cooperate and act as intelligence assets, there would be fatal consequences,” Gumanao said.

She said they were made to sign documents to negotiate their release.

On the night of Jan. 15, their captors abandoned them in a resort in Carmen town, where their relatives and rights workers picked them up the following morning.

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