April 17, 2013
Neon green paper with a face drawing and the text “Surface Sombath Somphone.”
This was the symbol adopted by civil society groups that participated in the cultural and solidarity event titled “Public Action to Call on the Philippines and the ASEAN: Surface Sombath Somphone and all Desaparecidos.” The gathering was held last April 12 in front of the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs offices in Pasay, Metro Manila.
Sombath Somphone, 60, a community worker and green activist from Laos, is the 2005 Ramon Magsaysay Awardee for Community Leadership. The event marked the 120th day of his disappearance and protested the seeming inaction of the Laos government.
The participants also sought the Philippine government’s support in ensuring that Sombath’s case is included on the agenda of bilateral meetings of leaders of the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Sombath went missing on December 15, 2012. He was last seen in Vientiane, Cambodia, where a CCTV footage showed police stopping his jeep as he drove on the way home. Two plainclothes men then hauled him onto another vehicle.
It has been four months, and there has since been no information on his whereabouts. The Laos authorities deny involvement.
Sombath’s wife, Ng Shui Meng, is concerned, especially since her husband suffers from prostate cancer. She has received no word on her husband’s fate, but has told media, “I believe he is still alive.”
Officers and staff of the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation (RMAF), led by Awardee Relations Manager Ma. Carmencita Toledo, joined the solidarity event. Toledo reiterated the support of the Magsaysay Award community and the call to the Lao government to act toward Sombath’s deliverance. Continue reading “Magsaysay Award Foundation joins calls to ‘Surface Sombath’”