The Amihan National Federation of Peasant Women decried the abduction of peasant and IP organizer Steve Abua, who was last seen in Brgy Sta. Cruz, Lubao, Pampanga on November 6. The peasant women organization demanded that Abua be immediately surfaced by his abductors. Amihan also stressed that the case highlighted the need for the Human Rights Defenders Protection Act, which is currently being deliberated upon in the House Committee.
“We send our sympathies to Steve Abua’s family during this terrifying time, and join their calls for him to be safely and immediately surfaced,” said Amihan National Chairperson Zenaida Soriano. “Human rights defenders are experiencing mass violence at an alarming rate. There is urgent need for the Human Rights Defenders Protection Act, which writes protective mechanisms against attacks like Steve’s abduction into Philippine law.”
According to a report by Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas – KMP, Abua’s family believes that he was abducted by state forces. The assailants sent the family Abua’s phone and began to communicate with them from there, beginning with a series of messages and then a video call that showed a visibly distressed Abua gagged and blindfolded.
The still unidentified abductors threatened Abua’s wife into not telling anyone outside of the family about the situation, saying they could easily kill him if their conditions were not met. With the help of KARAPATAN-Central Luzon, the family has sought assistance in locating Steve from the Commission on Human Rights.
“Community organizers and activists cannot do their work of aiding in the development and protection of marginalized sectors when they are being slaughtered, abducted, and arrested on false charges. The Philippines is in a human rights crisis. The conditions of living under a fascist state demand greater safeguards for rights defenders,” Soriano added.