[Statement] 7-11: Remembering the missing and the search for Justice -FIND

July 11, 2012

7-11: REMEMBERING THE MISSING AND THE SEARCH FOR JUSTICE

For the Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance (FIND), July 11 is a significant date.

Eleven individuals were forcibly taken and disappeared by suspected state agents on this date as documented by FIND. Of the 11 missing, one was surfaced and located.

Prominent among the eleven was Redemptorist priest, Fr. Rosaleo “Rudy” Romano who was last seen on July 11, 1985 in Tisa, Labangon, Cebu City, never to be found up to this day –27 years past. FIND remembers Fr. Rudy as among those who firmly stood for justice and courageously fought for the well being of the poor even during the repressive years of martial rule.

It was largely in Fr. Rudy’s honor that FIND and the Redemptorist community here and abroad constructed the Flame of Courage Monument that stands on a portion of the Redemptorist Church grounds in Bacalaran, Parañaque City.

The monument symbolizes the hope of the families’ untiring search and quest for justice. It is a tribute to those whose commitment for freedom, truth and justice expressed through working with the underprivileged in defending and asserting their human rights had been the reason they were abducted to silence and never to be found.

Since then; 27 years after Fr. Romano was taken against his will, 18 years since the unveiling of the Flame of Courage Memorial, enforced or involuntary disappearances persist in the Philippines. Not even President Noynoy Aquino’s rallying call for Filipinos to take the “matuwid na landas” (straight or righteous path) could deter perpetrators in committing the atrocious human rights violation of enforced disappearance.

To date, under the present Aquino administration, 17 cases have already been reported with 12 victims documented by FIND. The numbers could very well increase for as long as there is no definite national agenda on human rights and until legislative as well as a international treaty protecting the people from enforced disappearance are codified and acceded.

There is no better way to discourage the commission of such inhuman act than for the government and the Filipino people to unite and affirm its adherence to the universal standards of human rights.

Undoubtedly, expediting a bicameral conference to iron out and finalize the Anti-Enforced Disappearance Act of 2011 earlier approved by both Chambers and the signing and accession to the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance is one righteous path the government could take.

We challenge President Noynoy Aquino to lead and substantiate his pronouncements.
——————

Hulyo 11, 2012

7-11: PAG-ALALA SA MGA IWINALA AT ANG PAGHAHANAP NG KATARUNGAN

Para sa mga pamilya ng mga biktima ng sapilitang pagwawala (FIND), ang Hulyo 11 ay isang napakahalagang araw.

Sa mismong buwan at petsa na ito, may labing-isa ka tao ang dinukot at iwinala ng mga pinaghinalaang ahente ng estado ayon sa dokumento ng FIND. Sa 11 na iwinala, isa ang natagpuan at inilutang.

Kasama sa mga ito ay ang redemtoristang pari na si Fr. Rosaleo “Rudy” Romano na dinukot at huling nakita noong Hulyo 11, 1985 sa Tisa, Labangon, Cebu City na magpahanggang ngayon ay hindi pa rin natatagpuan —27 taon na ang nakalipas. Itinuturing ng FIND si Fr. Rudy bilang isa sa mga matibay na nanindigan sa ngalan ng hustisya at walang takot na nakikiisa at lumaban para sa kapakanan ng mga maralita maging sa panahon ng mapanupil na martial law.

Sa alaala ni Fr. Romano, kaya itinayo ng FIND kasama ang komunidad ng mga Redemptorista sa bansa maging sa ibayong dagat ang monumento ng Flame of Courage na matatagpuan sa loob ng simbahan ng Baclaran sa lunsod ng Parañaque.

Ang nasabing monumento ay simbolo ng katatagan at pag-asa ng mga kaanak sa kanilang walang pagod na paghahanap at pagkamit ng katarungan. Ito ay alay para sa lahat na naninindigan para sa kalayaan, katotohanan at hustisya, mga prinsipyo na kanilang binigyang anyo sa pamamagitan ng pakikibaka kasama ang mga pinagkaitan sa lipunan nang sa gayo’y karapatang pantao ay kilalanin at maisakatuparan na naging sanhi upang sila’y dukutin, patahimikin at di na muling matagpuan.

Mula noon, 27 taon mula nang si Fr. Romano’y tinangay laban sa kanyang kagustuhan at 18 taon mula nang buksan ang Flame of Courage Monument, ang sapilitang pagwala ay nagpapatuloy sa Pilipinas. Maging ang panawagan ni Pangulong Noynoy Aquino para sa lahat ng mamamayan na tahakin ang “matuwid na landas,” ay hindi nakatulong upang mapigilan ang mga insidente ng ganitong uri ng paglabag ng karapatang pantao.

Sa kasalukuyan, sa ilalim ng pamunuang Aquino, mayroon nang 17 kaso ang naiulat na may kasamang 12 biktima ang naitala. Ang mga bilang na ito ay maaari pa ring tumaas hangga’t ang pamahalaan ay walang malinaw na pambansang direksyon sa usaping karapatang pantao at walang mga nasyunal o internasyunal na pamantayan at kasunduan na naglalayong pangalagaan ang karapatan ng mamamayan na isinasabatas, sinasangayunan at nilalagdaan ng ating gobyerno.

Wala nang kasing-husay na pamamaraan upang pigilan ang mga nagnanais gumawa ng enforced disappearance maliban sa isang sama-samang pagkilos ng pamahalaan at ng sambayanang Pilipino at magkaisa sa pagkilala at pagpapatupad ng pandaigdigang pamantayan ng karapatang pantao.

Walang duda, ang pagpapabilis ng isang bicameral conference ng kongreso upang pag-isahin at pagtibayin ang Anti-Enforced Disappearance Act of 2011 na nauna ng inaprubahan ng dalawang kapulungan at ang paglagda at pagsang-ayon sa International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance ay tunay na hakbangin tungo sa isang matuwid na daan na dapat ay ginagawa na ng gubyerno.

Ito ang aming hamon kay Pangulong Noynoy Aquino, na ang mga pahayag na kanyang binitawan ay pangunahan at patotohanan niya.

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