State forces surface 2 abducted environmental activists in Pangasinan

This article is available in Pilipino

State forces were forced to surface Francisco “Eco” Dangla III and Joxelle “Jak” Tiong, three days after a relentless search by relatives, friends and associates. Surface Eco & Jak Network reported yesterday, March 27, that the two are “no longer in the hands of their abductors, bruised, but alive.” Tiong and Dangla were abducted in Barangay Polo, San Carlos City, Pangasinan on March 24 at 8 p.m.

The two are still recovering from the harrowing experience, however, they will be able to “fully recount the details of their abduction and their release,” the group said. Human rights groups also warned that their abductors should “stop any further harassment.”

Witnesses say the two were abducted after an SUV blocked the tricycle they were riding. Two to three people from the SUV and another on a motorcycle mauled them and forced them into the vehicle, according to witnesses. Pieces of cloth torn from the victims’ clothings were said to have been left at the scene. Tiong was also heard shouting for help.

Dangla, 39, is a former student of the University of the Philippines and is currently the spokesperson of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan)-Pangasinan. Tiong, 29 and a graduate of Universidad de Dagupan, is the coordinator of Kabataan Partylist in the province. They are both convenors of the Pangasinan People’s Strike for the Environment, a group that stands against the black sand mining and the construction of a nuclear power plant in the province.

Prior to the incident, state forces have subjected Tiong and Dangla to relentless Red-tagging, surveillance, intimidation and other forms of harassment. This is similar to the usual pattern of harassment and subsequent abduction of activists and progressives.

“We extend our gratitude to all those who supported calls to surface Eco and Jak. Your swift and resolute actions have been invaluable confronting this challenging time,” according to the network.

They called for justice and demanded that those involved and who led the abduction of Dangla and Tiong be held accountable. “The pattern of these attacks on environmentalists, human rights defenders and whole communities…shows that the rights situation in the Philippines remains dire under the Marcos Jr. administration,” the network concluded.

AB: State forces surface 2 abducted environmental activists in Pangasinan