UP Diliman student reported abducted; military says no abduction took place

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/22 December) — A student of the University of the Philippines (UP) in Diliman was reported  abducted in Tarragona, Davao Oriental Tuesday morning and allegedly brought to Camp Panacan here but the military spokesperson said no such abduction took place and that the alleged victim was already on her way home to Laguna.

The human rights group Karapatan said Danya Reyes, 19, a UP  Diliman student conducting research in barangay Maitum, Tarragona, and a member of the Kabataan partylist group, was on her way home to Manila when she was noted missing at around 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. Tuesday, December 21.

Hanimay Suazo, acting deputy secretary-general of Karapatan in Southern Mindanao, said Reyes could have been abducted somewhere between barangay Maitum and the town center in Tarragona, where a series of checkpoints has been set up by the 67th IB.

She said Reyes, an AB Comparative Literature student in UP Diliman and a youth cultural worker of Alay Sining of the UP’s cultural group Karatula, has been in barangay Maitum since July and August this year conducting ”research related to her course.”

”As a cultural worker, Reyes has also been spending time with indigenous peoples in Tarragona,” Suazo said.

But Col. Medel Aguilar, spokesperson of the 10th ID,  denied Reyes was abducted.

He said Reyes was a member of the New People’s Army (NPA) who was on her way home for Christmas.  He said members of the 67th IB authorized to set up detachments in Tarragona apprehended an ”unregistered vehicle driven by a driver whose license has expired.”

Among the passengers, Reyes had come up and introduced herself as a member of the NPA, Aguilar said. ”She was a former UP  student who knew what she was doing in Tarragona,” Aguilar said in a phone interview.

He added soldiers only ”escorted her to the Tarragona mayor,” where Reyes reportedly expressed the desire to go home to Laguna.

Reports reaching Karapatan said Reyes was transported from Tarragona to Camp Panacan Monday nightlast night after she was presented to the provincial governor’s office.

Reyes was accompanied by the municipal social welfare and development officer who had facilitated the purchase of her Cebu Pacific Air ticket for a 10:15 a.m. flight to Manila today (Wednesday).

”You know, we have a standing ceasefire, we don’t need to arrest anybody,” Aguilar said.

”She was brought to the mayor of Tarragona who directed the municipal social welfare officer to facilitate her trip home to her family,” he said.

Aguilar said Wednesday morning that Reyes was already on her way to the airport for her Manila flight.

At 9 a.m. Wednesday, members of progressive groups trooped to Camp Panacan to demand Reyes’ immediate release. (Germelina Lacorte/MindaNews)