By JACINTO LINGATONG
SANTA CRUZ, Laguna — Three indigenous people’s rights advocates investigating human rights violations were abducted in Mindoro Oriental.
According to Karapatan Southern Tagalog, they are Job Abednego David, 29, Peter del Monte Jr., 29, and Alia Encela, 19.
They were abducted in Malaglag village, Barangay Lisap, Bongabong town by soldiers belonging to the 4th Infantry Battalion and the 203rd Infantry Brigade of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
David, Del Monte and Encela were investigating human rights violations related to reports of bombings and shelling in the area earlier this year which were connected to mining and quarrying projects that affected the residents and indigenous people.
Before their disappearance, the families of David and Del Monte received messages from a suspicious Facebook account claiming to be General Randolph Cabangbang of the 203rd Infantry Brigade, asking them to contact him.
Human rights groups in the Southern Tagalog region condemned their abduction.
“This latest attack by the military on rights advocates only proves that there is no ‘Bagong Pilipinas’ (New Philippines) under Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. He only exposed himself as an enabler of state terrorism and attacks against the Filipino people,” said Rev. Luisito Saliendra, Karapatan Southern Tagalog spokesperson
Indigenous communities in Mindoro have been the primary targets of military operations, including test fire exercises, aerial bombings and strafing which affect thousands of residents.
Previous military abductions have raised concerns about the use of red-tagging tactics to justify human rights violations. Karapatan Southern Tagalog and other human rights organizations have called for a thorough investigation into these violations and justice for the victims.
“We are demanding for the immediate release of David, Del Monte and Encela and holding the 203rd Infantry Brigade and the 4th Infantry Battalion accountable for their actions,” Saliendera said. (JJE, DAA)