News Release

May 24, 2009

Bayan calls on Arroyo government to surface Fil-Am activist Melissa Roxas and companions

The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan is calling on the Arroyo government, the Department of National Defense and the Armed Forces of the Philippines to immediately surface Melissa Roxas, an American citizen of Filipino descent, and a member of BAYAN-USA and the cultural group Habi Arts based in Los Angeles, California.

Roxas was abducted last May 19 at around 1:30 pm in Sitio Bagong Sikat, Bgy. Kapanikian, La Paz, Tarlac. She was with two other volunteers, Juanito Carabeo and John Edward Handoc.

Based on reports filed by the human rights group Karapatan and the La Paz police, Roxas and her companions were taken by at least 8 fully-armed, bonnet-clad men on board two motorcycles and a Besta van without any plate numbers.

Since the abduction, there has been no word of the whereabouts and condition of Roxas and her companions.

Roxas is the first case of a Fil-Am activist to be abducted by suspected state security forces.

“It is indeed urgent that Melissa and her companions be surfaced. No harm must come to them. Their rights must be respected. We are outraged that these abductions continue despite repeated condemnation here and abroad,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.

Bayan said that the human rights group Karapatan will be spearheading the search for Roxas. “The burden of surfacing Melissa, as in similar cases of abductions, now lies with the Arroyo administration. We also call on the international community to exert pressure on the Arroyo government for it to act swiftly to surface Melissa,” Reyes added. ###