On the International Day of the Disappeared, we would like to call on all freedom loving peoples in the world to raise our voices for all those who were disappeared. Let us make the human rights violators realize that for every person they abduct and silence, more people will stand up to struggle for what is just!
In the Philippines, we bear witness not only to the abduction of several farmers, workers, students, church workers, and other struggling sectors in the society during the infamous Marcos dictatorship. We have seen a re-surge of one of the most heinous form of human rights violations – enforced disappearances – during the 9-year brutal rule of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (among other human rights violations). The current President, Benigno Simeon Aquino III, after already more than a year in office, has yet to make the previous regime accountable for its horrible HR record. Worse, these human right violations still continue well into his watch.
Let us join hands with the families of the victims in their arduous search for their missing loved ones and for justice!
International Coordinating Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICCHRP)
For more information on the issue of Enforced Disappearances in the country:
Note: The introduction is in Dutch, but the documentary itself is in English (with Dutch sub-titles)
Families of Desaparecidos Slams continued inaction of PNoy Government on cases of disappearances
Mary Guy Portajada, Secretary General, Desaparecidos, 09175415133/ 434 2837
On the International Day of the Disappeared
“What have you done for our missing loved ones?” Mary Guy Portajada, Secretary General of the Families of the Disappeared for Justice (Desaparecidos) asked President Benigno Simeon “Nonoy” C. Aquino, III during the human rights group’s commemoration of the International Day of the Disappeared in front of Ever Gotesco Mall along Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City.
“Enforced disappearances continue to this day, even after 206 victims of enforced disappearances have been documented during Gloria Arroyo’s term,” Portajada said, “There are now eight victims of enforced disappearance under PNoy. Where is justice?”
Families of Desaparecidos together with friends and supporters held a protest action in front of Ever Gotesco, where the abduction of missing activist Jonas Burgos took place. The group mounted a sign that says, “Mag-ingat sa Mandurukot: Dito dinukot ng mga militar si Jonas Burgos.” (Beware of abductors: Jonas Burgos was abducted here by the military)
Families of the Disappeared (Desaparecidos) put a marker/dummy traffic sign in front of Ever Gotesco along Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City in commemoration of the International Day of the Disappeared
Jonas was abducted four years ago, April 28, 2007 inside the said mall while having his lunch. Jonas is an activist teaching organic farming among peasants in Bulacan. He was never found. A Major Harry Baliaga of the Armed Forces of the Philippines is currently implicated in Jonas’ the abduction.
“This sign is a reminder to the public, that disappearances continue to happen, and that one can never be to sure of their own safety even under the PNoy administration,” warned Portajada. “And if President Noynoy remains inactive in pursuing justice for the missing, we have no choice but to rely on each other’s support.” She continued.
The human rights group expressed their alarm over the continuing incidence of enforced disappearances over the past year. “The persistence of this practice and the continuing reports of disappearances under the present regime, have diminished our faith of achieving justice for our loved ones under PNoy’s leadership.” Portajada said.
She further explains that the occurrence of abductions and enforced disappearances are only a result of the government’s anti-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan. “No amount of repackaging can change the fact that anti-insurgency programs such as Oplan Bayanihan are designed to pacify and neutralize those who pose a threat to so-called government development programs. The state through its Armed Forces of the Philippines will continue to use whatever means it can to silence its critics.” Portajada said.
Desaparecidos vowed to continue its lobby work in Congress for the enactment into law of the bill criminalizing enforced disappearances as well as for Philippine government to ratify the UN Convention for the Protection of Persons against Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances.
“Many among us have been searching for our loved ones for more than two decades now and we will not wait for a President who has only empty words to offer us. We will not stop looking for them and in achieving justice.” Portajada concluded #