Dyan Gumanao & Armand Dayoha
On January 10, 2023, 28-year-old development worker Dyan Gumanao and 27-year-old labor rights activist Armand Dayoha were forcibly abducted by alleged state security forces in broad daylight in Cebu City. The two were reported missing by their families on January 13 as they haven’t heard from them. A video of the incident was shared with the victims’ families by a concerned citizen after the news of the missing activists circulated online. It shows that multiple witnesses observed the two being forced into a vehicle by men in plainclothes inside the Cebu City port.
Presumably, strong public pressure and the joint efforts of various organizations contributed to the release of Gumanao and Dayoha in the morning of January 16 in Carmen Town, Northern Cebu. Both were found physically unharmed but traumatized. The two reportedly gave accounts that the kidnappers identified themselves as police officers. They also said they were blindfolded, detained incommunicado, and separately interrogated. According to Gumanao and Dayoha, the kidnappers wanted to know about their ties to terrorists groups.
Dyan Gumanao is a long-term staff and coordinator at Community Empowerment Resource Network, Inc. (CERNET), a partner organization of one of AMP’s members. She is also a volunteer for the Alliance of Concerned Teachers. Her partner, Armand Dayoha, is a labor rights organizer of Alyansa sa Mamumuo sa Sugbo (AMA Sugbo) and coordinator of the Alliance of Health Workers. Dayoha also works as a capacity building program coordinator at Visayas Human Development Agency, Inc. (VIHDA), an AMP member’s partner organization.
Prior to their abduction both have experienced surveillance, harassment, and threats from security forces. The AMP has repeatedly highlighted the Philippine government’s crackdown on human rights defenders, development workers, journalists, unionists, and church workers under the guise of fighting terrorist groups. Over the years, security forces accused CERNET of being a front organization of the communist insurgency in the Philippines without providing evidence. This practice, often called “red-tagging”, aims to delegitimize the work of organizations fighting for the promotion of human rights, justice, environmental protection, and peace. VIHDA’s employees were also repeatedly red-tagged and threatened by security forces.
The abduction of Gumanao and Dayoha is yet another incident which sheds light on the severe situation of human rights defenders in the Philippines and the failure of the Philippine government to protect them from threats, harassment, vilifications, enforced disappearances, and killings.
Gumanao and Dayoha are willing to file criminal charges against their kidnappers. According to the Philippine government, a Special Investigation Task Force is currently investigating the abduction case.
Download (PDF): AMP-Statement: Abduction of Dyan Gumanao and Armand Dayoha
Update: January 31, 2023