2 missing union workers found, groups demand accountability for abduction

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 16) — Progressive groups have condemned the alleged abduction in Cebu City of union organizers Dyan Gumanao and Armand Dayoha, who were reunited with their families on Monday after they were reported missing since Jan. 10.

“The staggering experience of Gumanao and Dayoha exposes the barefaced disregard of basic human rights by state forces and their rabid intent to harm and attack unionists,” Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) said in a statement.

Citing Gumanao’s father, women’s group Gabriela said the abductors presented themselves as members of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

A video released by human rights group Karapatan and which it credited to a concerned citizen, purportedly showed Gumanao and Dayoha being abducted in broad daylight at the Port of Cebu. The video showed men in plain clothes apparently shoving someone into a car at the port as onlookers shouted and called for help. But the video was shot from afar and the faces of those involved could not be seen.

Gumanao is from ACT while Dayoha works for the Alliance of Health Workers. Both are based in Cebu.

The abduction took place during their return to Cebu on Jan. 10, after a holiday visit in Mindanao, according to Karapatan's regional chapter.

Prior to the incident,the two raised alarm over what they suspect to be surveillance and tailing since 2020.

Although they were reunited with their families on Monday, Gabriela said the abductors should be held accountable for violating human rights. Details of the union organizers' release were not immediately clear.

“We are in solidarity with them and their families in their pursuit to hold their perpetrators accountable who are reported to be members of the PNP,” Gabriela Secretary-General Clarice Palce said in a statement on Monday.

Dapat nang may mapanagot sa karahasang ginagawa ng mga pulis at militar laban sa mga aktibista. Ilang aktibista na ba ang pinaslang at dinukot nang walang nakakamit na hustisya?” Palce added.

[Translation: Someone should be held accountable on these harassments done by police and military officers against activists. How many activists have been killed and abducted without achieving any justice?]

CNN Philippines is seeking comment from the PNP.