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HomeSoutheast Asia‘We were abducted’, Filipino activists say – as security chiefs cry ‘fake...

‘We were abducted’, Filipino activists say – as security chiefs cry ‘fake news’

AsiaSoutheast Asia

Missing Philippines activists say ‘we were abducted by the military’ – as security chiefs cry ‘fake news’

Jonila Castro and Jhed Tamano had been working with coastal communities opposed to reclamation activities in Manila Bay when they disappearedThey say they were taken into military custody and forced to sign a statement. Security chiefs have accused the pair of being ‘leftist organisers’The PhilippinesAgence France-PressePublished: 11:01am, 20 Sep, 2023Why you can trust SCMP

Two environmental activists allegedly abducted by the Philippine military more than two weeks ago were freed on Tuesday, sparking jubilation among supporters who had campaigned for their release.

Jonila Castro, 21, and Jhed Tamano, 22, had been working with coastal communities opposed to reclamation activities in Manila Bay when they disappeared on September 2 in Bataan province, near the capital Manila.

The Philippines is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for land and environmental defenders, with 11 killed in 2022, according to watchdog Global Witness.

The women were released on Tuesday hours after appearing at a government press conference where they went off script and accused the military of abduction – charges the authorities have repeatedly denied.

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