Farmers’ organization Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) reported the abduction of a peasant and indigenous peoples organizer in Pampanga province on Saturday, November 6.
Based on initial reports it gathered, the KMP said long-time Central Luzon peasant organizer Steve Abua, 34 years old, was last seen in Barangay Sta. Cruz, Lubao town.
Abua’s wife received messages from his phone reportedly sent by his abductors and showing photos of the activist “visibly in distress” last Saturday, the group said.
“After an exchange of messages, the abductors directed Abua’s family to add a Facebook Messenger account and, through that, Mrs. Abua was able to see her husband via video call, the KMP said.
Mrs. Abua reportedly saw Steve wearing a white shirt, jeans, and a bonnet and sitting at the bottom bunk of a double deck bed.
“He had blindfolds, and cover on his mouth to prevent him from speaking,” the KMP alert said.
The KMP added that the abductors threatened Abua’s wife not to tell anyone outside of the family about Steve’s plight or she will not be able to see her husband anymore.
They also threatened that they could easily kill Steve if Mrs. Abua would not abide by their conditions, the group added.
Before working as a full-time peasant organizer in Central Luzon, Abua was a University of the Philippines-Diliman student leader who graduated with honors with a BS Statistics degree.
As a student leader, Abua was councilor of the UP School of Statistics Student Council and a member of the League of Filipino Students-UP Diliman.
A friend wrote on Facebook that Abua was a tireless student organizer who loves to play the guitar at UP Diliman’s Vinzon’s Hall and Sunken Garden.
He decided to become a full time activist and organizer after the 2004 Hacienda Luisita Massacre, also in Central Luzon.
Abua’s family believes that the perpetrators are state forces as the abductors kept repeating that the government just wants to give Abua a chance to turn a new leaf in life or “magbagong buhay,” the KMP said.
“We condemn this latest attack against peasant organizer and human rights defender Steve Abua. Surface Abua now and let him return safely to his family,” KMP leader Danilo Ramos said.
“We are appealing to any witnesses to give any information that could lead to the whereabouts of Steve Abua. It is likely that Abua was abducted to force him to surrender and cooperate with government agents from the NTF-ELCAC,” Ramos said.
The Abua family, through KARAPATAN-Central Luzon, already sought assistance from the Commission on Human Rights to locate the missing activist. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)