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September 24, 2008

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Today is the seventh day since the enforced disappearance of Cordillera Peoples Alliance member, James Balao. For seven days, James could not be located since he left his residence at Fairview, Quezon Hill last September 17, 2008.

Where is James Balao?

We strongly believe that James was taken by intelligence agents of the Armed Forces of the Phillipines. We believe that the State through its agents are the perpetrators of this violation. We believe that his enforced disappearance is because of the continuing implementation of Operation Plan Bantay Laya which considers civilians and progressive legal organizations as enemies of the sate and thus are targets for neutralization.

We strongly condemn this act by the State and its agents.

From February 2001 - June 2008, there has been 193 cases of enforced disappearances in the country. James Balao is the 194th victim. Most of the victims are members and leaders of progressive people's organizations categorized as sectoral fronts of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), or the New People's Army (NPA). Before the enforced disappearances or abductions, the victims experience surveillance, tagging and be threatened through text messages similar to the cases of victims of extrajudicial killings.

According to a reliable source, James was listed in the AFP dossier as the head of the Communist Party of the Philippines Education Bureau. We believe that his enforced disappearance is due to this.

We demand speedy investigation from the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines. We hope to receive word on his whereabouts as soon as possible.

We urge all government institutions particularly the Commission on Human Rights to aggresively assist us in finding James Balao. The search for him gets more and more urgent by the minute. We demand the Intelligence Security Unit whom we believe has him in their custody to surface him. We demand a stop to Oplan Bantay Laya II and the attack on legal peoples organizations.



Jude Baggo
Secretary General
Cordillera Human Rights Alliance


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