Two environmental activists were found alive, one of them bruised and wounded, after going missing for three days.

Joxelle “Jak” Tiong and Francisco “Eco” Dangla III were abducted in Barangay Polo, San Carlos City in Pangasinan last March 24. According to eyewitness reports, the two were riding a tricycle before they were stopped by armed men and forcibly dragged to a car.  Witnesses also saw the armed men threaten the tricycle driver and the other passengers.

Both Tiong and Dangla are convenors of the Pangasinan People’s Strike for the Environmental (PPSE) who fight for people’s rights to a clean and livable environment. Moreover, they also actively campaign against the planned construction of nuclear and coal-powered plants and mining activities in Pangasinan.

According to Dangla, they experienced interrogation and different forms of torture at the hands of their abductors. Before the kidnapping, he said that he was also a victim of harassment and red-tagging several times.

In a joint statement, the fact-finding team thanked the people who helped raise the call to resurface Tiong and Dangla and asserted that their captors must be held responsible. “Their case bolsters our assertion that terrorist-tagging engenders graver human rights violations including enforced disappearances. This pattern of attacks against environmental activists, human rights defenders, and whole communities, in the context of the prevalent climate of impunity and socio-economic ills, shows that the rights situation in the Philippines remains dire under the Marcos Jr. administration,” the fact-finding team said in the statement.

So far, 23 environmental defenders have been killed under the current administration. /PT


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