After three days of persistent and tireless efforts and camp searches, we are relieved to confirm that environmental rights defenders and church workers Francisco “Eco” Dangla III and Joxelle “Jak” Tiong are no longer in the hands of their abductors, bruised but alive.

While they are still reeling from their harrowing ordeal, we hope that in due time, Eco and Jak will be able to fully recount the details of their abduction and subsequent release. Their captors should desist from making any attempts to further harass them.

We extend our gratitude to all those who supported calls to surface Eco and Jak. Your swift and resolute actions have been invaluable in this challenging time. To Eco and Jak and their families, we stand steadfast in solidarity throughout this difficult period. We are one with them in their demand for justice.

Those responsible for their abduction and tortuous ordeal must be held accountable. 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.

We demand an end to attacks on environmental defenders and activists, and to surface all desaparecidos. Hands off our environmental and human rights defenders!

Rep. Raoul Manuel, Kabataan Partylist
Rep. France Castro, ACT Teachers Partylist
Rep. Arlene Brosas, Gabriela Women’s Party
Alyssa Darunday, Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment
Lia Mai Torres, Center for Environmental Concerns Executive Director
Cristina Palabay, Karapatan Secretary General
Raymund Basilio, Alliance of Concerned Teachers Secretary General
Minnie Anne Calub, National Council of Churches in the Philippines General Secretary
Pia Montalban, Karapatan Central Luzon
Leah Valencia, Promotion of Church People’s Response
Eufemia Doringo, Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap