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Envi activists tortured by probable state agents during abduction

Environmental activist and abduction survivor Francisco “Eco” Dangla III recounted in a press conference last 26 April how he and fellow activist Joxelle “Jak” Tiaong were tortured by probable elements of the state.

Last 24 March, Dangla and Tiaong were violently kidnapped in San Carlos City, Pangasinan while on board a tricycle on their way home from a consultation with community leaders. After three days, both of them were surfaced. 

“After some time in the hands of our abductors, we really thought we would be killed,” said Dangla.

Both victims were convenors of the Pangasinan People’s Strike for the Environment which campaigns against offshore black sand mining and the construction of coal power plants opposed by many residents of Pangasinan.

Dangla said he tried using his mobile phone but was ordered at gunpoint to stop. After a prolonged struggle with his abductors that left him with wounds and bruises, he also shouted for help from the residents. Dangla said they were blindfolded in all the three days and nights they were kept in a safe house, leaving him with deep scars around his eyes.

“The first night of the abduction was the worse because they did not allow us to sleep with their incessant questioning,” he said.

Dangla and Tiaong are part of a growing list of cases of enforced disappearances in the less than three years since Marcos took power. According to Karapatan, there have been 13 victims of enforced disappearances between July 2022 to December 2023.

In January 2023, labor rights activisits Dyan Gumanao and Armand Dayoha were abducted in Cebu City only to surface a few days later. In April, activists Gene Roz Jamil “Bazoo” de Jesus and Dexter Capuyan were abducted by government operatives in Taytay, Rizal. In September 2023, two environmental activists Jonila Castro and Jhed Tamano went missing and was later on publicly presented by the military as “NPA surrenderees.”

This recent spate of enforced disappearances will be part of cases filed against the US-backed Marcos and Duterte regimes in the upcoming International Peoples Tribunal on 17-18 May in Europe.