“At the end of the day, or years, our loved ones remain missing, leaving us with no warmth of their embraces, no place to see them, no graves to turn to when this season of remembrance comes.”
By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
MANILA – Families, friends and colleagues remembered their disappeared loved ones on Nov. 1 as the world commemorated All Souls Day.
Desaparecidos, a group of families of the disappeared, led the simultaneous candle lighting calling for justice. Netizens also participated using the hashtag #SurfaceAllDesaparecidos.
The group lamented that despite the criminalization of enforced disappearances in the country, state forces “continue to commit such a grave crime simply because they have gotten away with it unpunished and unscathed.”
The Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act was enacted into law in December 2012. However, activists continue to be forcibly disappeared. The group said that under President Duterte, there were 13 documented cases of enforced disappearances in the conduct of the administration’s counterinsurgency program.
“When our loved ones were abducted, the government feigned ignorance on their whereabouts, covered their tracks, and then consequently blamed the organizations and social movements they were part of to evade accountability. And yet, prior to our loved ones’ disappearances, it was the government that threatened, ‘red-tagged’ and vilified them, their organizations and movements were called ‘terrorists’ and marching orders for their ‘neutralization’ were given, with much hubris, by Presidents, military and police generals,” the group said in a statement.
“At the end of the day, or years, our loved ones remain missing, leaving us with no warmth of their embraces, no place to see them, no graves to turn to when this season of remembrance comes,” the group added.
The group continues to demand justice for all victims of enforced disappearance and to hold into account the perpetrators. There are more than 1,000 who disappeared from Marcos dictatorship until the present administration.
The group said they will never forget those who were taken away from them as well as those who took them away.
“Likewise, we will not forget the names of the presidents who sanctioned or were complicit in such acts, just as we will not forget the names of the military and police who undertook such crimes – Hermogenes Esperon, Eduardo Año, Panfilo Lacson, Jovito Palparan, Romeo Maganto, and many more,” the group said.