2 missing Cebu-based activists found | Inquirer News

2 missing Cebu-based activists found

Dyan Gumanao leading a protest rally. STORY: 2 missing Cebu-based activists found

Dyan Gumanao, coordinator of the National Union of Students in the Philippines (NUSP) in Cebu, leads a protest rally against a planned tuition hike of private schools in Central Visayas in front of the CHED office in Cebu City. This photo was taken in 2019. (File photo by JUNJIE MENDOZA / Inquirer Visayas)

CEBU CITY, Cebu, Philippines — The two development workers who were reported missing by their families last week were left alive by their supposed abductors in a resort in Carmen town in northern Cebu on Monday morning.

Dyan Gumanao, 28, and Armand Dayoha, 27, were brought to and left in Carmen, some 42 km north of Cebu City, past 10 a.m. on Monday, where they were able contact their families, according to Dennis Abarrientos, spokesperson of human rights watchdog Karapatan-Central Visayas.


Abarrientos said the pair was not sure where they were brought to because they were blindfolded, taken in circles and were detained and interrogated in separate rooms from the time they were taken from the port of Cebu City on Jan. 10.

“They still could not talk about the incident for now as they were still processing what happened to them,” Abarrientos said in a press conference joined by the pair’s families at the University of the Philippines Cebu on Monday.


According to their parents, both were physically fine, but were still mentally and emotionally recovering from their harrowing experience.


Danilo Gumanao, Dyan’s father, said he was grateful to the groups who helped in the campaign to help disseminate information on his daughter’s and Dayoha’s disappearance, as well as their efforts to find them.

“Why did this happen to them? They don’t deserve this. If my daughter and Armand violated some laws, then why not arrest them and file charges against them. But they did not violate the law, and I know that my daughter would always stand up for what is true and right,” he said.

He added: “This incident is not just for my daughter and Armand. There will be more victims if this won’t be corrected.,” he added.

The couple, who planned to wed this year, was reported missing by their parents on Jan. 13, three days after they could not be contacted following their arrival from Cagayan de Oro City, where they spent the holidays with their families from whom they sought blessings for their marriage.

‘Help them!’

The disappearance of Gumanao and Dayoha, both graduates of and lecturers at the University of the Philippines (UP) Cebu, was allegedly done by state forces, said Jaime Paglinawan, chairperson of Ama Sugbo ng Kilusang Mayo Uno, a Cebu-based labor group where Dayoha worked as an organizer.

Paglinawan showed a video taken by a concerned citizen who witnessed the alleged abduction of the couple at Cebu City’s Pier 6 on Jan. 10 after they arrived on board an inter-island vessel from Cagayan de Oro City.


The video, which was played during the press conference, showed that Gumanao and Dayoha were forced by unknown men to board a van.

A voice of a woman shouting “help them!” could be heard in the video but none of the bystanders went to their rescue. The video, which was posted on Facebook, was viewed 14,000 times with 976 shares, 52 comments and more than 1,000 reactions as of Monday.

“The video clearly showed that they were abducted and that there was a commotion, contrary to what marine authorities claimed,” Paglinawan said.

Paglinawan and other cause-oriented groups challenged the Marcos administration, the Philippine National Police and the Philippine Coast Guard to investigate the abduction.

“Surveillance and harassment of progressives have been occurring since the Duterte administration. I hope what happened to the Dyan and Armand will not be replicated,” Paglinawan said.


Makabayan bloc sounds alarm over 2 missing Cebu activists

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