Colleagues Say Missing Activist Alive

Northern Dispatch

BAGUIO CITY—The Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) received information from a ‘reliable and credible’ source saying that missing activist James Balao is alive and is being detained by state security forces.

According to Beverly Longid, CPA chairperson, the information they received Thursday came from an informant who is among the ranks of state security forces.

Longid also said the CPA is still trying to get more information on the exact detention facility.

“Now that we know James is alive and is in the custody of state security forces, there is urgency in the granting of the writ of amparo to allow the family and the CPA to thoroughly inspect military and police camps including safe houses that we could possibly identify,” said Longid.

Longid also said it took the CPA sometime to verify the nature of the information it received. The group said it could not disclose the identity of their informant and the particular unit involved.

“While we think that James’ disappearance is a collaboration of various state security forces, we cannot yet identify the exact unit involved, however, we believe it was an intelligence unit of the Armed Forces of the Philippines that conducted surveillance operations on James before he was abducted. The said unit is specifically connected to the Philippine army,” said Longid.

Despite the good news, the Balao family and the CPA reiterated their appeal to the public for their continuous support and assistance for the surfacing of James.

“Time is of the essence now to save his life,” said Longid.

Meanwhile, Longid junked the theories of the Task Force Balao of the Philippine National Police (PNP) that James’ disappearance was either a result of a dispute among the Balao-Oclupan clan members or the own doing of the CPA.

“This is not only ridiculous but a clear attempt on the part of the government to divert leads that they have on the real perpetrators and to blur the motives behind James’ disappearance,” Longid said. She added that the abduction of Balao is not an isolated incident because the CPA and its members have been targeted for attacks and harassment by government agents. Posted by

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