More than a year after Elena Tijamo had been kidnapped, her family confirmed her death on August 30, 2021, which happens to be the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances. Tijamo was a program coordinator and the Community Radio coordinator of Farmers Development Center (FARDEC) in her home province of Bantayan Island, Cebu.
There she was abducted by six masked men and women on June 13, 2020, who broke into her home under curfew hours. “After a year of abduction until the news of Tijamo’s death, there was no clue as to who her abductors were and what are their motives. What is known to her family, they were armed and able to move around the province while strict quarantine or lockdown protocols were in place, much like the killing of Echanis that happened under curfew hours and lockdown.” Weeks before that, police officers and an unknown man snooped around her neighborhood to probably clarify her place of residency.
FARDEC was listed as a “communist terrorist front organization” on November 5, 2019, by the Department of National Defense (DND). Members of the organization have been victims of red-tagging and human rights violations since 2006. Lately the Aktionsbündnis Menschenrechte – Philippinen (AMP) reported about the arrest upon trumped-up charges of FARDEC member Carmilo Tabada.
Rights organizations Karapatan and Desaparecido “deplore the treacherous and highly questionable circumstances of her abduction, disappearance and death.” The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) together with both organizations had to assist the family to be able to identify Tijamos remains. After she died in a Manila hospital she was brought to a funeral home under false name, that’s why her family is still hindered of claiming her body.
For Tijamos case the Philippine National Police chief Guillermo Eleazar ordered an investigation together with the Anti-Kidnapping Group.
Read the AMPs statement on Elena Tijamos death and forced disappearance here.