‘Surface desaparecidos,’ rights groups, lawmaker urge Marcos

·Contributor
·2 min read
Relatives of desaparecidos (enforced disappearances) hold placards of missing family members during a gathering to commemorate the International Day of the Disappeared at the Monument of Heroes in Quezon City, suburban Manila on August 30, 2022. (Photo by JAM STA ROSA / AFP)
Relatives of desaparecidos (enforced disappearances) hold placards of missing family members during a gathering to commemorate the International Day of the Disappeared at the Monument of Heroes in Quezon City, suburban Manila on August 30, 2022. (Photo by JAM STA ROSA / AFP)

On the International Day of the Disappeared Tuesday (August 30), several human rights organizations are calling on the Ferdinand Marcos Jr. administration to surface desaparecidos.

In an event held at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani (Memorial of Heroes) in Quezon City, friends and families of desaparecidos also gave messages to their relatives who were either missing or currently detained as political prisoners.

The event was spearheaded by the Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses and Martial Law (CARMMA), Karapatan, and Desaparecidos (Families of the Disappeared for Justice).

Ang torture ay hindi lang nanunuot sa mga buto ng mga tinorture, gumuguhit din sa mga pamilya,” said JL Burgos, brother of Jonas Burgos, a peasant organizer and activist, who was abducted in 2007 under the term of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

(Torture isn’t only felt by those who were tortured, their families could feel this as well.)

Ron de Vera, meanwhile, reminded the families of the disappeared during the event that the fight to free his mother, Adora, is also a fight to free all the political prisoners in the country. He also shared that he was only nine years old when his father, Manuel Manaog, a community organizer, was abducted in 1990. He remains to be missing to this day.

Wag nating kakalimutang hindi ito laban para [sa] iisang tao lamang o dalawang tao lamang. Ang laban na ito ay para sa lahat ng bilanggong pulitikal,” said de Vera.

(Let us not forget that this fight is not just for one or two persons, but for all the political prisoners in the country.)

Lahat tayo [ay] may karapatang mabuhay, hindi ganitong buhay. Walang bata ang dapat magdaan sa mga ganitong pahirap. Kuwarenta’y uno na ‘ko ngayon, ganito pa rin. Walang pagbabago,” he added.

(We all have a right to live, but not like this. No child should go through what I’ve gone through. I’m already 41 years old, but it’s still the same. No change at all.)

Meanwhile, Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman is urging the Marcos administration to work to resurface the desaparecidos.

“In this light, it is now the responsibility of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to exercise his power and duty as Chief of State to cause the surfacing of the disappeared from the Marcos Sr.’s regime down to the succeeding administrations including the current administrations where three desaparecidos have been reported; disclose the truth behind each disappearance; bring the perpetrators to justice; fully mend the harm done to the victims; and put an end to the horrific crime of enforced disappearance,” Lagman said.

Marvin Joseph Ang is a news and creative writer who follows developments on politics, democracy, and popular culture. He advocates for a free press and national democracy. Follow him on Twitter at @marvs30ang for the latest news and updates.

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