By Rafael Joseph Maramag*
It has been five years now since the Campaign for Human Rights in the Philippines UK invited Mrs Edith Burgos, the mother of missing activist Jonas Burgos, in London to raise awareness about abductions and enforced disappearances in the Philippines to the British public.
Fast forward seven years since Jonas was abducted by suspected elements of the military in 2007, Edith’s search for her son still continues and the quest for justice remains bleak.
According to KARAPATAN, a Philippine-based human rights watchdog, there have been 19 more cases of enforced disappearances under the Aquino government since end of 2013. Not one case has been convicted, much less prosecuted. The suspected brains behind the abduction of Jonas Burgos, Maj. Harry Baliaga escaped prosecution by filing bail – and is now a fugitive, together with other military “henchmen” who have been linked to masterminding gross human rights violations to those critical of government, such as former Gen. Jovito Palparan.
It is no surprise then that a recent statement of the Asian Human Rights Commission ranked the Philippines as the 3rd most dangerous place for journalists and activists – from trade union activists to human rights defenders alike.
It is in this light that the Campaign for Human Rights in the Philippines UK (CHRP-UK) continue its work to raise awareness of the dire human rights situation in the Philippines within Britain.
This year, and to commemorate the 7th year anniversary of the tireless search of Mrs Edith Burgos for her son, we proudly present The European Premiere of the indie feature film “Burgos” on 30th April, 6.00pm at the ODEON Covent Garden, in co-operation with the London Labour Film Festival.
* Rafael Joseph Maramag is the Secretary for Campaign for Human Rights in the Philippines.