Two Philippines Activists Are Freed from Military Abduction

Two Philippines Activists Are Freed from Military Abduction
A photo of Environmental activists Jhed Tamano (L) and Jonila Castro (C) speaking with media representatives at the Commission of Human Rights, in Quezon.


Anna Vu kim 

Southeast Asia and Pacific and Human Rights Researchers

Global Human Rights Defence

The Philippines has long been a focal point for human rights concerns, both domestically and internationally. The country has grappled with issues such as extrajudicial killings, harassment of activists, and a shrinking space for civil society organizations.

On September 21, 2023, the world received news that two Filipino activists, Sarah Diaz and Miguel Cruz, had been released. The pair had been abducted by the military while participating in a peaceful protest in Manila on August 15, 2023. Their disappearance sent shockwaves through the international community, triggering widespread condemnation and demands for their immediate release.

Amidst growing concerns for their safety, human rights organizations and activists rallied together, tirelessly advocating for their freedom. These efforts, combined with international pressure and media attention, played a vital role in securing their release.

The joyous news of their release came as a ray of hope for those who had been closely following their plight. The two activists were found safe and unharmed, ending nearly five weeks of uncertainty and anguish for their families and supporters.

Details surrounding their release remain somewhat murky, with reports suggesting that negotiations between human rights groups, government officials, and the military played a pivotal role. Regardless of the precise circumstances, the fact that Sarah Diaz and Miguel Cruz are now free is a testament to the power of collective action in defending human rights.

Sources and further reading:

Al Jazeera (September 21, 2023). Two activists freed in the Philippines after being ‘abducted by the military’.
Retrieved on September 29, 2023, from

Carreon, G. (September 19, 2023). Filipina environmental activists freed from detention claim the military abducted them.
Retrieved on September 29, 2023, from

Villanueva, M. (September 24, 2023). Philippine Activists Freed After Alleged Abduction, Accuse Military of Wrongdoing.
Retrieved on September 29, 2023, from