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Bacolod City, Philippines Friday, July 22, 2011
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Release abducted workers

Relatives of three farm workers reportedly abducted by unidentified men Tuesday night at Sitio Mabalas II, Brgy. Canlusong, EB Magalona, Negros Occidental, yesterday called on their abductors to release them.

Their families identified those abducted as Michael Celeste, 24, Gerard Abale, 32, and Julie Devero, 60.

At a press conference at the Negros Press Club in Bacolod City, Mary Grace Celeste, wife of Michael, said two armed men wearing bonnets went to their house at about 9 p.m. Tuesday and told her that they needed to talk to her husband.

One of the men said they needed to talk to Michael at his father’s house, which is 50 meters away from theirs, she said.

One of them even promised to bring Michael back, but until yesterday, he had not returned, she said.

Michael’s father, Danilo Celeste, said in 2007, his son was also abducted by unidentified persons, who claimed that Michael was a member of the New People’s Army but after days of captivity, he was released.

Danilo also said members of the Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade were seen in their area before the abduction, although they have no idea who took his son.

Rodney Celeste, Michael’s uncle, said it was not the Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit who took his nephew. They even asked for help at the military detachment in Brgy. San Isidro after the incident, he said.

Meanwhile, Clemencia Abale, wife of Gerard, said that on the same night, her husband was also forcibly taken by armed men who told her that they just needed to talk to him.

She asked her husband not to go out, but the armed men did not mind her and, instead, continued to call for Gerard.

When they saw her husband, they immediately searched him for guns and when they did not find any, they went inside their house and searched it, Clementia said.

She also asked them if she could go with her husband but they refused, and, they told her that if she would not cooperate, something would happen to her husband, she added.

Clementia asked them to identify themselves but they replied, “kabalo ka na (you already know).” She suspects they are RPA-ABB members, but has no proof, she added.

Karapatan-Negros in a press statement called on the abductors to immediately release the three peasants. They also called for speedy police action to arrest the perpetrators.*LTG




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