Community organizer 'kidnapped' in Bantayan

A 56-year-old farmer's group community organizer in Cebu was reportedly kidnapped by still unidentified armed men around 8 p.m. Saturday, June 13, 2020.

In a message sent to SunStar Cebu, Sunday morning, Patrick Torres, Farmers Development Center (Fardec)-Central Visayas executive director, said Elena Tijamo, their program coordinator, was taken forcibly from her home in Sitio Avocado, Barangay Kampingganon, Bantayan, Cebu, Saturday night.

"Until now, we do not know where she is or who took her," he said.

"We're coordinating with CHR (Commission on Human Rights) and trying to reach out to the Bantayan LGU (local government unit) for help," he added.

Lawyer Arvin Odron, CHR 7 director, said he already instructed the Chief of their Investigation Division to look into this matter.

Torres said, before Tijamo was abducted by armed men in civilian clothes who are also accompanied by two women, Tijamo was with her family.

He said Tijamo's sister reportedly tried to prevent the abduction but failed.

Anakbayan Cebu, in a tweet, said the intruders were reportedly wearing black shirts and masks.

Torres said they are worried because prior to Tijamo's kidnapping, they were reportedly tagged as terrorist supporters in a house committee hearing in November last year, along with other religious organizations including the National Council of Churches.

He said Fardec already categorically denied these "baseless allegations" in the past and that they are denying them again.

He also said prior the abduction, some policemen allegedly went to their communities in Bantayan reporedly telling people not to be active in their projects as they are a front for terrorist groups./WBS