Tag Archives: Desaparecidos

[Statement] Out of sight, out of mind. What you don’t know won’t hurt you. Time heals all wounds. -FIND

Photo by Nanette Castillo

Whoever came up with these clichés must not have known a desaparecido. The vivid narratives about their lives, heroism, and martyrdom endlessly told and retold by their families interweave truthful memories of those forced out of sight but can never be forced out of mind. The families’ vacillation between the hope of finding the disappeared beloved and despair over their unknown fate and whereabouts evokes immeasurable pain proving that what one doesn’t know is what hurts the most. And that without justice, no amount of time can heal the wounds inflicted by enforced or involuntary disappearance.

Hence, on All Souls’ Day, we gather at the Bantayog ng mga Desaparecido at the Baclaran church grounds not longing for tombstones to visit but truly energized to celebrate the sterling lives and struggles of our dear Desaparecidos. They started out as idealist human rights defenders (HRDs) but ended up heroes and martyrs to freedom and democracy.

Not unlike the HRDs at present, the Desaparecidos also staunchly fought for the freedom of expression and the right to dissent which ironically led to their being silenced and even brutally muzzled.

We, the inheritors of their enduring legacies, deeply commit to protest and resist the unrelenting assault on human rights and dignity.

Today, as we honor and pay tribute to the Desaparecidos, we listen, ponder on, and get inspired by their relevant and meaningful words of wisdom, three of which reverberate thus:

“Yes, Mother. There are six of us remaining. When I leave, there is still going to be five of your children with you. Won’t you give just one more of us to the country we all love?” – Ramon V. Jasul

“My friends, what good is it for one of you to say that you have faith if your actions do not prove it?… Suppose there are brothers or sisters who need clothes and don’t have enough to eat. What good is there in your saying to them, ‘God bless you! Keep warm and eat well!’ – if you don’t give them the necessities of life? So it is with faith; if it is alone and includes no action, then it is dead.” – Romeo G. Crismo

“But the youth must never stay supine… there is still cause for a demonstration. If only to register our opposition to an action of our government which we believe is wrong. If only to demonstrate that we do not sleep on our rights. And who knows, our rallies today may not produce immediate concrete results, but the little ripples that they are today could very well be the big waves of tomorrow.” – Hermon C. Lagman

Contact person: Celia L. Sevilla, 0932-8165564

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos, etc.

[Tula] Hustisya sa mga desaparesidos -ni Greg Bituin Jr.

wala kaming puntod na titirikan ng kandila
hanggang ngayon, sa mahal namin ay nangungulila
sila’y aktibistang nagsikilos upang lumaya
mula sa pagsasamantala ang bayan at dukha

inorganisa ang kababaihan, manggagawa
magsasaka, kabataang estudyante, ang madla
ang guro, manininda, abugado, mangingisda
subalit sila’y dinukot, sinaktan, iwinala

hinanap ng pamilya ang kanilang katauhan
nagtungo sa mga ospital, presinto, kulungan
nagbabakasakaling may bakas silang naiwan
sinong saksi, sinong maysala o may kagagawan

sa paghahanap sa kanila’y di dapat mabagot
sa nangyaring pagkawala, sinong dapat managot
krimen at pangyayaring ganito’ y dapat malagot
mga naiwang katanungan ay dapat masagot

hustisya’y aming sigaw, sa kampo, korte, kalsada
saanmang lugar, panawagan namin ay hustisya
mga desaparesidos sana’y matagpuan na
mga mahal naming iwinala, sana’y makita

– gregbituinjr.
* Inihanda para sa paggunita ng grupong FIND (Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearace) sa kanilang mga mahal na desaparesidos sa Nobyembre 2, 2019, mula 9am-12nn, sa Baclaran Church.

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos, etc.

[Press Release] Families and Human Rights Defenders Fly Kites for Desaparecidos -FIND

The families of the disappeared together with other human rights defenders (HRDs) capped the International Week of the Disappeared flying kites at the Quezon Memorial Circle on Sunday.

In a statement, Albay Rep. Edcel C. Lagman, Honorary Chairperson of the Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance (FIND), said that, “The soaring kites signify sustaining the struggle for the causes fought for by the disappeared.”

“Vilification, intimidation, reprisal, and false labeling of HRDs will not cow them to submission,” he added.

FIND lamented the defeat of HRD senatorial candidates in the last election, but vowed to continue engaging them in defending human rights and fundamental freedoms. The families committed to remain steadfast in fighting for the truth and justice for their disappeared kin.

“They might have been forced out of sight, but they will never be forced out of mind; they inspire us in every step we take toward ending impunity,” said Celia L. Sevilla, niece of disappeared labor and human rights lawyer Hermon C. Lagman.

The kite-flyers called on the government to:

• Fully and strictly implement the Anti-Enforced Disappearance Law;
• Accede to the International Convention Against Enforced Disappearance; and
• Pass the Human Rights Defenders Protection bill

In solidarity, kites bearing logos of member organizations of the local Coalition against Enforced Disappearance (CAED) and the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD), both of which FIND is a founding member, were also flown.

###

For more information, please contact:
Celia L. Sevilla 0932-8165564

Submit your contribution online through HRonlinePH@gmail.com
Include your full name, e-mail address and contact number.

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[Event] Kite-Flying Day (International Week of the Disappeared) -FIND

FIND holds a kite-flying event every year in observance of the International Week of the Disappeared. Each year’s theme connects the issue of enforced disappearance with a significantly relevant and current human rights concern. Join us this year as we call for the protection of human rights defenders, that they may not fall victims to human rights violations as did our beloved Desaparecidos.

June 2, 2019
Sunday at 10 AM
Quezon Memorial Circle

https://www.facebook.com/events/371146053512804/

Submit your contribution online through HRonlinePH@gmail.com
Include your full name, e-mail address and contact number.

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[Right-up] “And Death Shall Have No Dominion” – salin sa wikang Filipino ni Karlo Lagman Sevilla

“And Death Shall Have No Dominion” – salin sa wikang Filipino ni Karlo Lagman Sevilla

Bilang paggunita sa mga Pilipinong naging biktima ng mga paglabag sa karapatang pantao, lalo na sa mga desaparecido, nitong Araw ng mga Puso, isang pagsalin mula sa Ingles ng huling tatlong linya ng unang saknong ng tulang, “And Death Shall Have No Dominion,” na sinulat ng tanyag na makatang Welsh na si Dylan Thomas, at nalathala noong Mayo, 1933:

Lumubog man sila sa dagat, sila’y lulutang muli;
Mawala man ang mga mangingibig, mananatili pa rin ang pag-ibig;
At ang kamatayan ay mawawalan ng kapangyarihan.

Ang orihinal:

Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion.

Submit your contribution online through HRonlinePH@gmail.com
Include your full name, e-mail address and contact number.

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[Statement] Bongbong Marcos has no right to deny that inhumane and cruel transgressions were committed during his father’s regime -FIND/AFAD

Bongbong Marcos has no right to deny that inhumane and cruel transgressions were committed during his father’s regime

Statement of HR Defenders, families and advocates against enforced disappearance on All Souls’ day

Vote for this article for the 5th HR Pinduteros’ Choice Awards

With no tombs or columbaria to visit, the families of the disappeared who are members of FIND gather every year on All Souls’ Day at the Bantayog ng mga Desaparecido at the Baclaran Church grounds to pray, offer flowers, light candles, and share memories of the sterling lives and martyrdom of their missing loved ones.

FIND AFAD

Today, these poignant memories are mocked and dishonored by Bongbong Marcos who insists that the best administration was that of his father’s as he glosses over the existence of some 100,000 victims of human rights violations during the Marcos regime. Among these, FIND has documented 882 victims of enforced disappearance, with the number of undocumented cases believed to be much higher.

Survivors of enforced disappearance under martial law and the families of the disappeared are living witnesses to the rampant human rights violations during the dark years of the Marcos dictatorship. They can tell Bongbong Marcos to his face their harrowing experiences of repression and injustice.

The martial law human rights violations victims Claims Board is currently validating supporting documents covering more than 70,000 victims.

Bongbong Marcos may not have directly perpetrated human rights violations, but he has no right to deny that these inhumane and cruel transgressions were committed during his father’s regime or to concede there were victims but at the same time dismiss them as unintended collateral damage.

Bongbong Marcos brazenly adds insult to injury by disregarding the fact that it was his father’s administration that launched the infamous floating rate in 1970, a de facto devaluation of the peso that persists to this day; the ballooning of the country’s foreign debt whose principal and interest payments have gobbled up the government’s meager resources for basic social services; the occurrence of the highest inflation rates in Philippine economic history in 1976 and in 1983; and the rising number of Filipinos living below the poverty threshold.

It’s a shame for Senator Marcos who now aspires to be Vice President to flaunt his perfidious ignorance of Philippine history and the country’s political economy.

Instead of trying hard to clear his father’s name, the noble thing for him to do is to apologize on his behalf, and help the victims and their families attain justice by supporting measures on accountability, truth recovery, reparations, and institutional reforms.

Since enforced disappearances are generally continuing offenses, President Aquino must now order the long overdue serious investigations into these unresolved cases toward bringing the perpetrators to justice.

Contact person:     Celia L. Sevilla, 0932-8165564/0917-9522123
FIND National and International Advocacy Program Coordinator

FIND
Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance

AFAD
Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances

PRESS STATEMENT ON ALL SOULS’ DAY
02 NOVEMBER 2015

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[Event] “Walang Paalam” showing -AFAD

Vote for this event for the 5th HR Pinduteros’ Choice Awards

Walang Paalam AFADEnforced Disappearance is a continuing human rights violation in the Philippines. Watch “Walang Paalam” and find out more about this phenomenon on February 26, 6pm, at the UP Film Center.

Admission is free.

www.facebook.com/afad.online2

AFAD

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[Statement] Continuing Struggle for Endless Remembering -AFAD

Continuing Struggle for Endless Remembering

Photo by AFAD

Photo by AFAD

All Souls’ Day is a time to remember and pay our respects to our dearly departed loved ones by visiting their graves, lighting up candles on their tombs, offering them flowers and prayers and above all, reflecting on their memories.

AFAD

For the families whose loved ones were made to disappear by their own governments, remembering the disappeared is a painful and torturous ordeal. They have no graves to visit, no tombs to light candles and no place to offer flowers. Even silence is an elusive desire to pray as the cry of their disappeared loved ones for truth and justice occupies their memories.

Until now, hundreds of thousands of families around the world are in the eternal search for answers and endless grief to find closure. They are continuously tormented by the fact that as time passes by, they remain uncertain of the fate and whereabouts of their dear desaparecidos. They are being deprived by their own governments of their right to know the truth and to obtain justice. They are forever placed in limbo of hope and despair without knowing when to mourn and to start moving on.

Enforced disappearance is undeniably one of the cruelest forms of human rights violations. It is not only an affront to the person’s basic rights and fundamental freedom but also a trample on the human dignity of the disappeared and of his or her family. It is a tragedy hovering everywhere. Based on the 2012 report of the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (UNWGEID), enforced disappearance is occuring in 84 countries around the world. It is most prevalent in the Asian region, a continent where there is no strong regional mechanisms for protection and redress.

In many Asian countries like Bangladesh, Indonesia, India, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Thailand and Timor Leste, enforced disappearance is brazenly practiced with absolute impunity. It is commonly utilized as a repressive tool to stifle dissent and silence opposition. It is also carried out by foreign states against citizens of other countries in order to pursue their interest in long standing territorial disputes like what North Korea is doing to South Korean people.

Enforced disappearance does not only destroy the lives it touches; it sows paralyzing fear in society. Those who found courage to stand for their rights have to face the consequence of political persecution and deadly hostilities by governments against human rights defenders like what Adil Rahman, president of Odhikar in Bangladesh and Parvez Imroz, patron of the Association of Parents of the disappeared Persons in Kashmir, India have to undergo.

But despite difficulties, many families found strength in their unity and solidarity. Their spirited and vigorous efforts made possible not only the recognition of this global concern but the need for a global response. Thus, the United Nations General Assembly adopted in 2006 the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance aimed at combating the crime of enforced disappearance by establishing the truth, punishing the perpetrators and providing reparation, guaranteeing the historical memory of victims and ensuring non-repetition. To date, 93 states have already signed and 40 have ratified this very important international human rights treaty.

Today, in the observance of All Souls’ Day, the Asian Federation Against involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) joins hands with all the families of the disappeared and human rights advocates in Asia and around the world in remembering and honoring all the Desaparecidos. They may not have graves to visits, tomb to light candles and to offer flowers but they will forever dwell in our hearts and minds. On this day, we renew our lifetime commitment to continue the journey towards a world without disappearances and injustices.

Every desaparecido deserves an endless remembering by their loved ones.

Signed:

MUGIYANTO
Chairperson

and

MARY AILEEN D. BACALSO
Secretary-General

Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD)
Rms. 310-311 Philippine Social Science Center Bldg.,
Commonwealth Ave., Diliman, 1103 Quezon City

Telefax: 00-632-4546759
Mobile: (63)917-792-4058
Website: http://www.afad-online.org

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[Statement] A meaningful Christmas gift -FIND

A MEANINGFUL CHRISTMAS GIFT

The families of victims of enforced or involuntary disappearance welcome Republic Act 10350 or the “Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act of 2012” and consider it as a timely and meaningful Christmas gift to them.

We are truly grateful to President Benigno Simeon Aquino III for finally signing the bill into law yesterday, the principal authors specially FIND’s Honorary Chairperson Rep. Edcel C. Lagman, the House of Representatives for approving it on third and final reading in the last three consecutive Congresses, the Senate for passing it ahead of the House in the 15th Congress, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima for consistently endorsing the measure since she was Chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights, the Philippine Supreme Court for spearheading the National Summit on Extrajudicial Killings and Enforced Disappearances in 2007 and for specifying the involvement of state agents in the commission of these offenses, and all those who supported the measure and recommended its signing to the President, more particularly our colleagues in the human rights community.

After the 16-year uphill battle of pursuing its enactment into law, we now face greater challenges in responsibly promulgating the Act’s Implementing Rules and Regulations jointly with the Department of Justice, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Commission on Human Rights and the Desaparecidos in consultation with other human rights organizations as provided under Section 28 of the law.

Having learned lessons from the implementation or non-implementation of R.A. 9745 (Anti-Torture Act of 2009), we are determined to be more vigilant, proactive and to comply with the law’s mandate to help “ensure the full dissemination” of the anti-enforced disappearance law and its implementing guidelines to the public, more particularly to its principal implementers.

We demand concrete and meaningful justice including reparation to all desaparecidosand their families. Thus, we commit to do our best to eschew any attempt to dilute, weaken or reduce the Act into a mere paper law.

We also urge Congress to exercise its oversight function to monitor and ensure compliance with the law.

We are aware, however, that compliance with the law alone does not guarantee non-repetition of the offense or the end of enforced disappearances. The commission of enforced disappearance will not stop unless the social structures that breed poverty, ignorance, and exploitation remain unchanged. These conditions that give rise to political dissent and mass protest must be reformed, if not eradicated, as the political activists who clamor for or initiate change are likely to be silenced, immobilized and eventually eliminated from the political arena through unabated enforced disappearances.

We need genuine societal change even as we enforce laws that hold human rights violators accountable for their offenses.

NILDA L. SEVILLA
Co-Chairperson, FIND

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[Statement] Honoring and celebrating the life, struggle and triumph of the desaparecidos and their families -FIND

Honoring and celebrating the life, struggle and triumph of the desaparecidos and their families

Photo by Richie Supan and Celia Sevilla

This time of the year, Filipino families pay tribute to their dearly departed with prayers and lighted candles. The case, however, is different with the families of the disappeared. Families of victims of enforced disappearance have to deal with their missing kin, whose whereabouts have been concealed for endless years. Enforced disappearance is a heinous offense perpetrated by state agents to maintain the status quo. Its roots in the Philippines can be traced back to the dark days of Martial Law, Ferdinand Marcos’ despotic rule, and has continued since then.

In a society that yearns for change and development, various individuals rise to stand up for peoples’ rights and defend the interests of the marginalized sectors. These agents of change are prey to the perpetrators of enforced disappearance. Clueless on the fate and whereabouts of their missing kin, the families, relatives and friends can only offer mass and prayers in honor of such martyrs.

In Metro Manila, relatives, human rights advocates and other support groups annually converge at the Baclaran Redemptorist church grounds in Parañaque City. It has become a tradition, a pilgrimage that had been going on for nineteen years since the unveiling in 1994 of the Flame of Courage Monument now known as the Bantayog ng mga Desaparecido. They gather to pray, light candles, offer flowers, poems, and songs to their missing loved ones.

Anxiety, anger, anguish and pain marked previous fellowships. But towards the end of every gathering each one is hopeful that, one day, their sufferings will ultimately make enforced disappearance a thing of the past. Today’s commemoration is most special, indeed, for ‘hope springs eternal’ for the Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance (FIND). The light at the end of the tunnel is forthcoming.

On October 16, 2012, both the Senate and the House of Representatives ratified the Bicameral Conference Committee Report on the proposed Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act of 2012. The proposed law considers enforced disappearance as a continuing offense until the victim reappears or is found alive; it protects and guarantees the rights of all persons against enforced disappearance under all circumstances. It accords absolute right to every person detained to communicate and inform his or her family, relatives, lawyer including human rights organizations. It also entitles victims to restitution, rehabilitation and compensation. A maximum penalty of life imprisonment is imposed on those found guilty of committing such crime.

FIND commends the legislators of the two chambers who authored, championed and sacrificed for the cause of the desaparecidos all throughout. Worthy of mention is FIND’s Honorary Chairperson, Representative Edcel C. Lagman, who in behalf of the victims stayed at the forefront of the legislative battle in pursuing a policy criminalizing enforced disappearance.

We strongly urge His Excellency, President Simeon Benigno Aquino III to immediately sign the Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Bill into law and commence its effectivity. This domestic law will be the first of its kind in Asia.

The enactment of the Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act of 2012 should hasten the Philippines’ signing and ratification of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. The domestic law and the international convention are complementary and mutually reinforcing.

FIND’s Co-Chairperson Mrs. Nilda Lagman Sevilla. Photo by Richie Supan and Celia Sevilla

FIND’s members and staff in an instant mural.

Families remember victims of enforced disappearance on all souls day.

FIND members remembering the disappeared at Bantayog ng Desaparecidos.

All photos by Richie Supan and Celia Sevilla

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

Light a candle for the disappeared, tortured and for all those who died and sacrificed their lives for human rights and freedom

we #remember our nameless heroes and martyrs…

As we light candles for our loved ones who passed away, we invite you to please light one additional candle for our nameless heroes and martyrs. Light a candle for the disappeared, tortured and for all those who died and sacrificed their lives for human rights and freedom.

We also encourage you to take pictures of your candles and upload and share it to your pages. Through this simple act we remember, we inform and inspire others and honor our thousand nameless heroes and martyrs.Pls LIKE and SHARE. Pls Light a candle! -#rememberML@40

[In the news] Palparan aide denies hand in activists’ abduction | ABS-CBN News | Latest Philippine Headlines, Breaking News, Video, Analysis, Features

Palparan aide denies hand in activists’ abduction | ABS-CBN News | Latest Philippine Headlines, Breaking News, Video, Analysis, Features.

MANILA, Philippines – The security aide of retired army Major General Jovito Palparan accused of taking part in the abduction of University of the Philippines (UP) student activists Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeno personally appeared in today’s hearing of the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) continued preliminary investigation.

Army staff sergeant Edgardo Osorio, who was recently included in the complaint for Rape, Serious Physical Injuries, Arbitrary Detention, Maltreatment of Prisoners, Grave Threats, Grave Coercion, and Violations of Republic Act(RA) No. 7438, International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment, submitted his counter-affidavit outrightly denying the charges.

“I categorically deny all the accusations, imputations and charges of herein complainants against me, as indicated in their Amended Joint Complaint Affidavit dated 19 August 2011, I have no participation in the alleged rape, serious physical injuries, arbitrary detention, maltreatment of prisoners, grave threats, grave coercion and violation of RA 7438 on Sherlyn T. Cadapan and Karen Empeno,” Osorio’s counter-affidavit read.

Read full article @ www.abs-cbnnews.com