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CEBU, Philippine – Dyan Gumanao, one of two Cebu-based development workers abducted in January 2023 urged the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Thursday, March 23 to help Philippine survivors of human rights violations in their fight for justice,
“We call on everyone to help us search and seek justice and accountability,” Gumanao said during the 52nd Regular Session of the UNHRC held in Geneva, Switzerland.
Gumanao was abducted in broad daylight with her partner, Armand Dayoha, on January 10.
Their abductors threatened to execute them for being “activists”.
Gumanao is a member of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) while her partner, Dayoha, is a union organizer of the Alliance of Health Workers (AHW) in Central Visayas.
As videos of the pier grab spread online, the men who had identified themselves as police tried to coerce the two activists into changing the narrative.
They were asked to call their families with either a tale of an elopement or going on a retreat to resolve personal problems.
“Prior to our abduction, we had experienced numerous tailings, intimidation, and even red-tagging,” said Gumanao.
“Our case is not an isolated case among development workers and even trade unionists in the Philippines,” Gumanao stressed. ” Some remain missing to this day, and some were found lifeless.”
According to Gumanao, ACT has recorded 38 cases of illegal profiling of their teacher members, 37 cases of red-tagging, 73 cases of illegal surveillance, death threats, and harassment; and at least 6 cases of fabricated charges and illegal arrests.
There were also at least 63 incidents of union interference and 12 attacks against freedom of association through disaffiliation campaigns that coerce members to leave their unions.
“It’s quite impressive that the current administration (of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.) has adopted a relevant percentage of the recommendations. However, most of them were only noted, and worse, what is happening on the ground is the exact opposite,” said Gumanao.
“With the worsening case of impunity in the Philippines, we still fear for our security. We still fear for our safety but our collective strength and struggle gives hope to us to continue,” Gumanao said.
The UN has crafted more than 280 recommendations aimed at improving the human rights situation in the Philippines. The Philippine government accepted 200 of those suggestions and said it would study the rest.
Recently, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) sent an appeal to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to suspend its probe into drug war killings in the country. –Rappler.com