Bayan-USA blames RP gov't for volunteer abductions
LOS ANGELES, CA—Two kidnapped activists in the Philippines have been released, and one remains missing, almost a week after armed men kidnapped the three in La paz, Tarlac. Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, or Bayan, says the Philippine government was behind the kidnapping of their members, and is planning protests on the Philippine Consulate in Los Angeles.
Filipino-American Melissa Roxas, 31, from Los Angeles was the first to surface five days after the May 19th kidnapping. Juanito Carabeo also re-surfaced, but the circumstances of their abduction and re-surfacing remains a mystery. John Edward Handoc remains missing. All three were volunteer health workers for Bayan.
Kuusela Hilo, Vice Chair of Bayan’s U.S. branch, said the group has started a campaign demanding justice for its abducted members, and that the abductions will not deter people who wish to volunteer for Bayan.
"So many young people here (in the U.S.) want to be able to come home contribute in any way possible,” said Hilo, “but this is the first time that we know of a Filipino-American activist to be a victim of an enforced disappearance."
Bayan-USA accuses the Philippine military for the activists' disappearances, but government officials deny military involvement in the abduction. The Philippine Consulate in Los Angeles declines to comment on the matter.
It is not yet clear whether Roxas plans to come back to the U.S. after her ordeal, according to Hilo.
Bayan-USA believes that Roxas' surfacing was the result of immediate community response and international pressure, so they aim to continue with actions until they get justice for the three. Roxas' colleagues and friends plan to hold a protest action at the L.A. Philippine Consulate on Wednesday night.