Families and friends of “desaparecidos,” or victims of enforced disappearances, decried what they described as the “state’s apparent disregard for accountability and justice” as they remember their missing loved ones on November 2, All Souls’ Day.
“We commemorate the memories and the bravery of our friends and family members who were forcibly taken from us, despite not having any graves to offer candles and flowers, nor any idea about their whereabouts,” said Erlinda Cadapan, chairperson of the group Desaparecidos.
“We vow to continue to speak our truths and strengthen our demand for justice and accountability,” she said in a statement, adding that the government seemed to be not interested in resolving cases of enforced disappearances.
According to the group’s data, there are about 1,900 victims of enforced disappearance since the administration of Ferdinand Marcos Sr. in the 1970s and the first half of the 1980s.
The group said that there are already four cases of enforced disappearance under the current administration of Ferdinand Marcos Jr., that of unionist Alipio “Ador” Juat, community organizer Elizabeth Magbanua, and peasant organizers Elgene Mungcal and Elena Cortez.
“We strongly echo the call to surface Ador, Elizabeth, and all our loved ones. We fear that such cases will increase under this administration, considering its penchant for human rights violations and disinformation,” said Cadapan.
She said that cases of enforced disappearances still continue despite the enactment of Republic Act 10353 or the Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act in 2012.
The Philippine government is yet to sign and ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.
“This, together with the recent cases of abduction and the absence of action in solving other pending cases, evidently shows the state’s apathy towards us and its palpable lack of commitment to justice and accountability,” read a statement from Desaparecidos.