FilAm volunteer health worker abducted in the Philippines

NEW YORK (May 24) — A Filipino American from Los Angeles and two of her companions were abducted by eight armed, hooded men in Sitio Bagong Sikat, Barangay Kapaniktan, La Paz, Tarlac on May 19.

Bayan-USA, in a press statement, said Karapatan, the human-rights group, had reported that the three were taken at gunpoint by eight men wearing bonnets over their heads.  The men used two motorcycles and a Besta van without license plates — typical of abductions and enforced disappearances in the Philippines.

Since the abduction, there has been no word on the whereabouts and condition of Roxas and her companions,” Bayan-USA said in its statement.

Roxas, who served as the first Regional Coordinator of Bayan-USA in Los Angeles and co-founded the cultural organization Habi Arts, participated in the International Solidarity Mission in 2005, an international fact finding mission that called attention to the escalating human rights violations in the Philippines.

She went to the Philippines in 2007 to pursue human rights work where she became a full time volunteer health worker.

Bayan-USA, an alliance of 14 Filipino American organizations and chapter of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan Philippines), called upon President Gloria Maca;pagal-Arroyo, the Department of National Defense, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines to “immediately surface” Melissa Roxas and her two fellow health workers Juanito Carabeo and John Edward Handoc.  It also urged representatives in the U.S. Congress to act quickly to ensure the safe return of the three health workers.

“We are deeply concerned about the abduction of Melissa Roxas, Juanito Carabeo and John Edward Handoc. We call for Melissa and her companions to be immediately surfaced unharmed,” said Bayan-USA Secretary General Rhonda Ramiro.

According to Bayan-USA, the search for Roxas and her companions will be spearheaded by Karapatan, while Bayan-USA and its member organizations, and allies will undertake an international campaign to exert prssure on the Arroyo government for it to act switfly to surface Roxas and her companions.

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