26 July, 2010
Lorena ‘Aya’ Santos, Dep. Secretary General, Desaparecidos (Mobile no. 0929.4414270)
Evangeline Hernandez, Convener, Victims of the Arroyo Regime for Justice (Mobile no. 09158562151)
On Pres. Noynoy’s 1st SONA
PNoy’s ACTION must speak louder than his WORDS
Families of victims of human rights violations hopes to not only hear from today’s State of the Nation Address of President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III that he will prosecute and punish perpetrators of human rights violations led by Gloria Arroyo, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police, but for him to actually DO it.
The bloodshed caused by their anti-insurgency policy Oplan Bantay Laya should not be set aside it must be seriously dealt with.
For more than nine years of non-stop and systematic repression, the Filipino people suffered more than pain. Parents lost their children to violent deaths like that of Cris Hugo, 20, a student activist who was shot dead in Albay on March 2006, Rei Mon “Ambo” Guran another student activist, 21, who was also shot this time in Sorsogon four months after the death of Cris; Beng Hernandez, human rights defender and student journalist, massacred together with three other human rights workers in Arakan Valley, North Cotabato on April 2002 and Grace Buya, a mere 12 year old elementary student who was just going to take a bath by a river but was killed by soldiers on March 2007; and to cover up for their crime took a picture of her beside a M16 rifle and thereafter declared her a child soldier.
Moreover, children were orphaned because their parents were considered enemies of the state by virtue of the pro-people causes they upheld. Eden Marcellana left behind, husband Orly a peasant leader and her two daughters after she was murdered together with Eddie Gumanoy by elements of the 204th IBde in Gloria, Mindoro Oriental in April 21, 2003 while the year before that saw the killing of husband and wife Expedito and Manuelita Albarillo also in Mindoro Oriental, both Bayan Muna and Gabriela coordinators of their town in San Teodoro. They left behind several children and grandchildren.
Many parents are still not without hope and are continuously searching for their children – Edith Burgos, Oscar and Connie Empeño, Asher and Linda Cadapan have brought their cases before courts after failing to have military camps fully accessible to them; hoping that they would find Jonas, Karen and Sherlyn. Children too are longing to see their missing mothers and fathers – Aya Santos, Ipe Soco, Nuki Calubid, Sugar and Lisa Calubad; where could have elements of the AFP and the PNP brought Leo Velasco, Gloria Soco, Celina Palma, Prudencio Calubid, Gabriel and Rogelio Calubad? They are only a few of the thousands of families still yearning for justice.
It is unfortunate that a few days into PNoy’s presidency Fernando Baldomero of Bayan Muna and Makabayan from Panay and Pascual Guevara, a peasant leader from Nueva Ecija would be killed by state-agents. President Noynoy has shown that his inauguration statement about prohibiting the Wang Wang can put the necessary sectors into action, why can’t he order a stop to the killings and enforced disappearances?
If after this, the President will remain indifferent to the suffering of families of human rights violations; should his words today be mere lipservice, then he has carved out his own figure before us, a mere illusion maker; someone who will be no different from his predecessor.
Now that PNoy is president his actions must speak louder than his words. The people hungry for justice want nothing less from him.
Justice for all human rights violations victims now! ###