Sugarfolks Unity for Genuine Agricultural Reform Batangas (SUGAR) volunteers and sugar field workers Alfred Manalo and Lloyd Descallar were abducted by unidentified armed individuals on Sunday afternoon, the organization reported on Monday.
Manalo and Descallar were last seen at 3 p.m. in front of the Medical Center in Balayan, Batangas. The volunteers were meeting with sugarcane cutters for a consultation as they were laid off, following the closure of Central Azucarera de Don Pedro Incorporation (CADPI) last December 15, 2022.
CADPI is the second-largest sugar mill in Luzon, however, it was shut down due to business losses and operational difficulties.
The sugar mill covered 10,890 hectares of land and was able to employ 4,584 planters, but have since then been laid off after CADPI went under.
By virtue of the sudden closure of CADPI, the Department of Labor and Employment offered P80 million to 2,000 workers. The compensation has yet to be granted to them. The workers then held a protest on February 8 to heighten their demands.
Manalo and Descallar were among the thousands of workers who have been calling on the government to reopen CADPI and financially support the sugar industry of the Philippines.
As of writing, Manalo and Descallar have not surfaced despite efforts by different organizations to locate them.
Human rights group Karapatan Southern Tagalog called on the Commission on Human Rights in a Facebook post to immediately investigate the case.
"Hinihiling ang pakikiisa mula sa bawat isa sa atin sa paghahanap kina Manalo at Descallar! Ipagbigay-alam at ipanawagan ang paglitaw muli ng ating mga kasamahan," a statement by SUGAR on Monday read. ●
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