Philippines activists freed after alleged military abduction

Philippines activists freed after alleged military abduction

MANILA: Two environmental protesters who were allegedly kidnapped by the Philippine government more than two weeks ago were released on Tuesday( Sept 19 ), much to the delight of those who had worked to secure their release.

When they vanished on September 2 in Bataan state, close to Manila’s funds, Jonila Castro, 21, and Jhed Tamano, 22, were working with seaside areas opposed to restoration activities in Manila Bay.

According to regulator Global Witness, the Philippines is one of the most hazardous nations in the world for property and climate defenders, with 11 fatalities in 2022.

The women were freed on Tuesday after showing up at a government press conference where they deviated from protocol and accused the government of kidnapping — accusations that have been categorically refuted by the government.

Prior to this, rights organizations claimed that the people had been kidnapped violently, possibly by” state actors ,” ostensibly in response to their engagement.

After being set free, a stubborn Castro told investigators and protesters,” We proved, because of what happened, that what we are fighting for is right.”

Castro was standing next to Tamano when he demanded” the emerging of other sufferers of forced disappearances.”

Castro and Tamano were being held in a safe house after they sought assistance from authorities, the National Security Council ( NSC) and police announced on September 15 — nearly two weeks after the pair’s disappearance.

They denied that the women were activists and claimed that claims made by” leftist organizations” that they had been kidnapped were” fake news” and” elaborate hoax.”

” Environists were portrayed as them.” They are communist organizers rather than environmentalists. They left the activity of their own free will, NSC official Jonathan Malaya told the media at the time.


At a press conference on Tuesday, but, organized by former president Rodrigo Duterte and hosted by the president’s National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, Castro and Tamano presented opposing accounts of what had happened.

Without offering any supporting facts, the work force has generally accused government critics of being communist sympathizers.

Red-tagging, a exercise, can lead to the apprehension, hold, or even demise of the target. Under President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who took over for Duterte in 2022, it has continued.

Castro stated during the press conference held at the Plaridel Municipal Hall in Bulacan state,” The truth is we were abducted by the government via a bus.”

They threatened to kill us, so we were forced to give up. That is the reality. We didn’t want to be held captive by the war.

Castro claimed that the declaration they made was” no real.”

” During that day, we had no alternative. She stated that she wanted to demonstrate the state’s obvious authoritarianism toward activists who only want to fight for Manila Bay today.

On X, formerly known as Twitter, recordings of the news event were extensively circulated.

Later, the work force and the Plaridel municipality’s Facebook pages removed links to the videos.

The process force claimed in a statement that it” felt betrayed” by the accusations and that the women were parroting” the advertising lines of Communist groups on their alleged suicide by security forces.”

According to the organization, it supported the law and military’s investigation into the event.

The women’s statements revealed official claims they had turned over to authorities were” all lies and hogwash ,” according to Karapatan, an alliance of local rights organizations.