BY THE NORTHERN DISPATCH
James Balao, a member of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA), was reported missing since Sept. 17.
In a statement, the CPA said the family was expecting Balao’s arrival that day but he never came.
“The family was informed that he had left his residence in Fairview, Baguio City at around 7:00 a.m on the said date. Since then, he, unusually, has not been in contact with his friends or members of his family; nor can they contact him,” CPA said.
Balao, 47, is of medium-built, 5’7” to 5’9” tall. He was last seen wearing a black jacket, brown pants, visor, black hiking boots and eyeglasses. He was carrying a yellow and blue backpack and red traveling bag.
“He was going to spend the following days at the family residence in La Trinidad,” his younger sister told CPA officers.
CPA Chairperson Beverly Longid said Balao’s absence is ‘very alarming.’ Longid said Balao had reported regular surveillance to his family that started on the week of June and has increasingly heightened until his disappearance. “He has even observed white and blue vans that regularly tail him from his residence to his daily chores,” she added.
Vio Hidalgo of the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) said there have been no reported arrests named Balao since Sept. 17.
The Cordillera Human Rights Alliance (CHRA) said this is the first case of enforced disappearance in the Cordillera under the Macapagal-Arroyo administration.
Family members and friends called on the authorities, particularly the Philippine National Police, (PNP) the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the public to assist them in their search for Balao.
The CPA and the Balao family may be reached through 09175069404; the offices of the CPA (442-2115); or the CHRA (445-2586 and 09189199007) for any information about the missing activist. (Northern Dispatch/Posted by Bulatlat)