CHR wants all out effort to find missing activists in Bataan
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has called on authorities to exhaust all possible means to find the two young women working on pro-environment campaigns who were reportedly abducted in Orion, Bataan last September 2.
In a statement on Thursday, the CHR said it is alarmed over the disappearance of Jonila Castro and Jhed Tamano, 21 and 22 — both students of the Bulacan State University — which happened just a few days after the the observance of the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearance.
Tamano was working for a church-community partnership program, while Castro is a volunteer for an organization fighting reclamation projects on Manila Bay.
Eyewitnesses said they were taken by armed men in a gray sports utility vehicle in front of a public water district office in Barangay Lati in Orion.
“We call for immediate and exhaustive efforts from law enforcement agencies to search for the missing young environment advocates. To help locate Castro and Tamano, it is also equally crucial for witnesses and individuals with information to step forward and coordinate with CHR and other investigation bodies,” CHR said.
According to CHR, any form of extrajudicial seizure of individuals violates Republic Act No. 10353 or the Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act of 2012.
“It cannot be overemphasized that the Philippine Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights guarantee the right to life, liberty, and security of all,” the commission stated.
“This latest case of twin abduction manifests the continuing susceptibility of activists to enforced or involuntary disappearance. We hope that the State will take decisive action before another case of missing human rights defenders is reported. It is crucial to resolve all cases of ‘desaparecidos’ to curb the impunity that enable human right violations to continue,” the CHR said. (With reports from Juan Miguel Talens, trainee)