Human rights alliance Karapatan called on the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to help in the efforts to locate, surface and ensure the safety of two volunteers from Sugarfolks Unity for Genuine Agricultural Reform (SUGAR)-Batangas who were reported abducted by unidentified armed men around 3:00 p.m. on March 26, 2023.
Sugar workers Alfred Manalo and Lloyd Descallar were last seen outside the Medical Center-Western Batangas in Balayan town. They were in the area to consult sugarcane workers affected by the closure of Central Azucarera Don Pedro Incorporated (CADPI). The closure this year of CADPI, the largest sugarcane mill in the province, has affected 4,584 sugarcane planters who are now going bankrupt. SUGAR is one of the organizations campaigning for the reopening of CADPI and for financial assistance to the affected planters and workers.
Like many other people’s organizations, SUGAR had been subjected to intense vilification and red-tagging and its members threatened, harassed and intimidated.
Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said, “Going by our experience with activists Dyan Gumanao and Armand Dayoha who were surfaced after witnesses came forward with evidence of their abduction, we call on those who may have witnessed the abduction or have information regarding it to reach out to Karapatan and the Commission on Human Rights.”