By VENMAR CECILLE
MANILA — Despite the impending threats, recently surfaced environment activists Jhed Tamano and Jonila Castro are determined to continue their campaign against reclamation.
“This is a proof the correctness of our collective fight against reclamation, alongside the fisherfolk communities— a sign for us to continue our struggle,” Castro said in Filipino after the closed door dialogue at the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) national office, Sept. 19.
Both Tamano and Castro thanked all those who supported them, the groups who called for their immediate surfacing and release.
“Almost three weeks have passed [since the abduction] and we do not know what is happening outside. But we continue to have faith that the people outside will find and fight for us,” Castro told their supporters.
For her part, Tamano said, “We are not the only victims of enforced disappearance. So we continue our call to surface all of them, especially that we already know who are the people behind these [abduction].”
The two were released to the custody of CHR by the local government of Plaridel, Bulacan after the press conference organized by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) earlier today. In that press conference, the two activists revealed they were abducted by soldiers, forcing them to sign affidavits as “faked surrenderees.”
Multisectoral groups then trooped to the Plaridel Municipal Hall to call and ensure the safe release of Castro and Tamano.
The two activists are assisted by the team from Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) spearheaded by Antonio La Viña.
As of this writing, there are also 20 international organizations, 24 Filipino organizations, and around 100 individuals who signed the support statement of Asia Pacific Network of Environment Defenders for Castro and Tamano. (RVO)