Desaparecidos (Pamilya ng Desaparecidos para sa Katarungan) strongly condemns the abduction of Sugarfolks Alliance for Genuine Agricultural Reform (SUGAR) Batangas volunteers and organizers, Alfred Manalo, Lloyd Descallar, and senior citizen Angelito Balitostos on March 26, 2023. The three main missing to this day.
“We and their families are deeply concerned about the physical and mental well being of the sugarworkers who remain disappeared to this day. This brings back memories of our harrowing experiences looking and searching for our loved ones who were abducted by state forces, many of whom were never found,” expressed Billet Batrallo, Vice-Chairperson of Desaparecidos.
“We call on the 59th Infantry Battalion Philippine Army(IB PA) under the 2nd Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, the identified perpetrator, to immediately and unconditionally surface the sugarworkers,” Batrallo added.
Desaparecidos also expresses deep concern on the series of intelligence operations, harrasments and interrogation of sugarworkers’ communities in Batangas.
“We call upon the Philippine Commission on Human Rights to conduct a thorough investigation into the abductions, the army unit’s lies and false claims against the sugarworkers of Batangas and the series of harassments and interrogation of people in the communities,” said Batralo.
Desaparecidos likewise strongly questions the stationing of the 59th IBPA near the area of the sugarworkers. Batrallo asserted: “Their presence only makes the people in the communities uneasy, scared and insecure. They have no business and no right roaming around intimidating and harrassing the people.There is no peace with them staying near the community.
“We stand by and support the leaders, members and organizers of SUGAR-Batangas. We will not be intimidated by these acts of violence and oppression. We will continue to fight for our rights and the rights of the sugarfolk communities in Batangas,” Batrallo concluded. ###