Tell it to SunStar: Cebu city and provincial governments must help in investigating the abduction of 2 development workers

Kabataan Partylist-Cebu urges the Cebu City Government and the Provincial Government to help in the investigation on the abduction of human rights defenders Armand Dayoha and Dyan Gumanao. They were reported missing on Jan. 10, 2023, but they thankfully surfaced on Jan. 16.

The incident is not just alarming to activists, but also to ordinary citizens. To ensure the Cebuanos that we live under the rule of law and that the constitutional rights of every person is protected, we call on the Cebu City Government and the Provincial Government to assist in the investigation.

Holding these institutions accountable collectively is important to guarantee Cebuanos that they are safe wherever and whenever they are, especially in a time of heightened fear and alarm over the lack of accountability from institutions that swore to serve and protect them.

We thank the public in heeding the calls of the two development workers and labor rights advocates’ families, friends and colleagues in providing active support such as sending photos and videos.

However, we sound the alarm of the manner in which they were abducted, as shown in circulating videos sent by a concerned citizen: in public, in broad daylight and in the presence of port security personnel.

We ask this: Are abductions going to be the norm in Cebu ports? Are we just going to let this happen over and over again?

As the province is known for its tourism industry and as one that supposedly upholds the rights of every Cebuano, we urge Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia and Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, whose jurisdiction involves the location of the pier where the abduction occurred, as well as other local government units, to look into this very concerning case and help conduct an investigation regarding this matter.

The public must be assured that this kind of incident will not happen again.