A Week After Abduction, 2 Activists in Philippines Remain Missing

Apr. 19, 2007

MANILA — The umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan today assailed the Arroyo governments inaction over the enforced disappearance of two leading activists in Panay, Nilo Arado, the chair of Bayan-Panay and SELDA leader Luisa Dominado.

The two activists were amubshed along with Liboy Garachico, Karapatan-Panay leader last Thursday, April 12 in Oton town in Iloilo. Garachico survived gunshot wounds and is now in stable condition. Arado and Dominado were taken by unidentified men on board two vehicles.

Bayan believes that the cases of enforced disappearances or abductions of activists have reached alarming levels. While there are more than 800 cases of extrajudicial killings under Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, there are also around 200 cases of involuntary disappearances.

Its been one week since the abduction. We dont see any relevant action from the Philippine National Police on this matter. The government should exert more effort to find the disappeared, similar to the effort it exerted in finding the missing Peace Corps volunteer, said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.

Instead of undertaking a serious probe, the PNP has muddled the investigation by insisting that the missing activists are members of the New Peoples Army The PNP makes Arado and Dominados alleged affiliation with the NPA a convenient motive for any harm that may befall them, Reyes said.

Reyes said that the PNP in Panay even expects the families of the victims to be the ones producing the evidence and witnesses.

The PNP seems to be disinterested in performing its job and wants other to do the work for them, Reyes said.

Bayan believes that the rise in the number of enforced disappearances of activists is very much a part of the government policy to neutralize leftist groups.

Unlike the policy of extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances do not leave any bodies, making the victims kin and the public think that the disappeared may still be alive. Enforced disappearances therefore are as cruel as extrajudicial killings, Reyes said.

We have every reason to believe that these abductions are being done by state security forces under a national policy of neutralizing and eliminating activist groups. The Filipino people know this. The whole world knows this, Reyes said. davaotoday.com

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