Friends, kin remember 2 disappeared Iloilo activistsBy Nestor P. Burgos Jr.
ILOILO CITY—The families and friends of two missing Iloilo activists on Thursday marked the fifth year of their disappearance by demanding that the two be surfaced and returned to their families.
Around 50 relatives and friends of Maria Luisa Posa-Dominado and Nilo Arado joined a protest rally at the Plazoletagay, the main intersection in the city, calling on the Aquino administration to resolve cases of enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings.
“It’s been five long years and their families continue to suffer. We demand that all efforts should be exerted by the government to surface them and all other missing activists,” said Reylan Vergara, secretary general of the human rights groups Panay Alliance-Karapatan.
Dominado and Arado remained missing after unidentified armed men waylaid their vehicle before forcibly taking them in Barangay Cabanbanan in Oton town in Iloilo on April 12, 2007.
Their families and colleagues have blamed military agents for the abduction, pointing to the similarity in the manner of abduction with those of other cases in the country. However, this have been repeatedly denied by military officials.
At the time of their abduction, Dominado was the regional spokesperson of the Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto, an organization of former political detainees, while Arado was chair of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) for Panay Island and leader of peasant organization Pamanggas.
Protesters led by Save Luisa and Nilo Movement and Bayan threw red paint on a poster of President Aquino for his alleged failure to stop the abduction and killing of activists.
Vergara said many were hoping that Mr. Aquino would heed his campaign promise of finding justice for victims of extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and other human rights violations.
But he said they were disappointed because the current administration had not only failed to stop the human rights violations but was also blamed for 76 extrajudicial killings and nine cases of enforced disappearances.
The families and relatives of the two missing activists had erected a marker at the site where they were abducted in Barangay Cabanbanan in Oton.