Environmental activists released from gov't custody

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 20) — The two environmental activists who claimed they were abducted by the military have been released from government custody and reunited with their families.

Facing reporters and rights groups after their release Tuesday night, the two vowed to continue their fight against reclamation.

"Ituloy 'yung laban sa pagpapatigil ng reklamasyon at ipagtanggol at ipaglaban ang karapatan ng mga mangingisda sa Manila Bay," Jonila Castro said.

[Translation: We must continue the fight to stop reclamation and defend the rights of fishermen in Manila Bay.]

She also thanked people who rallied on social media, urging the government to produce them.

"Sa totoo lang hindi namin alam na hinahanap niyo kami… halos tatlong linggo na hindi namin alam kung anong nangyayari sa labas," Castro said.

[Translation: We really didn't know you were looking for us… for almost three weeks we didn't know what was going on outside.]

Jhed Tamano also urged the government to produce other missing activists.

READ: Families of missing UP alumni seek help from Court of Appeals

The National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) earlier said Tamano and Castro surrendered to the 70th Infantry Battalion in Doña Remedios Trinidad, Bulacan on Sept. 12.

National Security Council Assistant Director General Jonathan Malaya also said the two activists surrendered after "they left the movement on their own free will."

But in a media briefing organized Tuesday by the task force itself, the activists said the military was behind their abduction on Sept 2. in Orion, Bataan.

Tamano and Castro are community organizers working with fishermen opposing reclamation projects in Manila Bay.

According Global Witness, the Philippines remains the deadliest country for environmentalists in Asia for the 10th consecutive year.

The international watchdog said 281 environmental defenders have been killed in the country since 2012.