In Search of the Disappeared

Press Statement

November 2, 2010

In search of the disappeared

The whole Christian community celebrates November 1 and 2 (All Saints Day and All Souls Day) in remembrance of their departed loved ones. This is the time where the whole family come together to offer flowers and prayers and light candles on the tomb of their loved ones.

KATUNGOD – SB – KARAPATAN, the regional alliance for the advancement of people’s rights, has long been commemorating November 3 as the regional day of the disappeared.

Enforced disappearance is termed as the worse case of human rights violation. It puts into uncertainty the family and loved ones of those who become desaparasidos. Families of the disappeared are forever in the dilemma on whether to offer prayers for their loved one or to continue their search, to accept the loss or to find ways to ascertain the whereabouts, to be forever filled with questions whether their loved one is in good condition, being treated humanely, being provided with food, clothing, and shelter, or whether their loved one will still be coming home. This dilemma creates the cruelest form of mental torture known to man.

In the Region, the implementation of Oplan Bantay Laya I and II under the fascist US – Arroyo Regime have left 28 families feeling this mental torture. The alliance have documented 28 cases from 2004 – 2009. These cases includes the abduction of Jacquiline Paguntalan and Rolando Fortaliza in the year 2004, abduction of Narciso Parani, Jovito Velasco, and Patricio Abalos in the year 2005, Gloria Pabillon, Mary Joy Opo, and Romualdo Balbuena in the year 2007, and Ruth Gecaro and Nito Dacles in the year 2009. Majority came from the peasant sector and peasant organizers. They were abducted on reasons that they were suspected and branded as members of the New People’s Army (NPA). Circumstances of these cases lead to the conclusion that these cases were perpetrated of agents of the State. The case of Paguntalan and Fortaliza points to members of the Internal Security Unit (ISU) while the cases of Parani, Velasco, and Abalos points to the participation of members of the military then under the command of Ret. General Jovito Palparan.

On this day, the Regional Alliance calls upon the people of Eastern Visayas to never forget the cases of the desaparasidos, to be vigilant in condemning this acts made by agents of the State, and to show support and to be one with the families of the desaparasidos in  their search for their loved ones.




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