Desaparecidos’ kin to Marcos: Help us find them
MANILA, Philippines — The families and friends of desaparecidos marked the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances on Tuesday by reiterating their call for President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to prove that he would be different from his father and namesake.
During a gathering at Bantayog ng mga Bayani, rights groups Karapatan, Desaparecidos, and Kapatid asked Marcos to help them find their missing kin as they also demanded justice for the over 1,900 desaparecidos in the country, including women’s rights advocate Elgene Mungcal and Anakpawis organizer Maria Elena Pampoza.
The two women disappeared after they were believed to have been taken by suspected state agents in Moncada, Tarlac, on July 3 this year, three days after Marcos was sworn in as president.
The kin of desaparecidos and rights groups members lamented that the government seemed “disinterested” in addressing the cases despite the enactment of Republic Act No. 10353, or the Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act in 2012.
The Philippines had also refused to sign and ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.
“From Ferdinand Marcos Sr.’s bloody martial rule to his son’s current regime, hundreds of people were forcibly taken and disappeared by state forces in their attempts to stifle dissent. All of them remain missing to this day,” said Isabel Batralo, vice chair of Desaparecidos. Her brother, peasant organizer Cesar Batralo, went missing in 2006.
“All of us families of desaparecidos still don’t know what happened to our loved ones. What good is this law if it can’t punish those who perpetrate enforced disappearances?” she said.
Those at the gathering urged the public to not only remember the disappeared but to also support other victims of human rights violations, including martial law torture and rape survivor Adora Faye de Vera.
She was recently arrested at her home in Quezon City and then flown to Iloilo where she is facing charges of multiple murder and multiple frustrated murder.
Her husband, Manuel Manaog, is also a desaparecido. A community organizer, he remains missing after he was abducted in 1990.
With her arrest, De Vera is “once again subjected to another form of injustice under another Marcos, while enduring the pain caused by the continuing disappearance of her husband,” Batralo said.
According to Amnesty International, more than 3,200 people were killed, 35,000 others were tortured while 70,000 were detained during the dictatorial regime of former President Ferdinand Marcos Sr.