Home Equality & Justice Philippine groups renew call to surface Desaparecidos on All Souls’ Day

Philippine groups renew call to surface Desaparecidos on All Souls’ Day

Human rights groups and families marked the Day of Remembrance for the Disappeared with a renewed call to surface all victims of enforced disappearances.

Every 2nd of November, families and friends of victims of enforced disappearances, or the Desaparecidos, gather to offer prayers and light candles for their loved ones. 

In this year’s observance, the groups Desaparecidos (Families of the Disappeared for Justice) and Karapatan said they are “not in mourning, but with the undying hope that one day, we will not have to light candles and offer flowers in the absence” of the disappeared.

“This day will cease to become a day to remember the disappeared, but become a day of justice,” the groups said in a statement. 

At the gathering in the Bantayog ng mga Bayani (Monument of Heroes), Edita Burgos, mother of disappeared farmer-activist Jonas Burgos who was abducted in 2007, demanded authorities “stop the crime of enforced disappearances”.

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“Today is a testament that there are families who continue the search,” she said. 

According to Karapatan, there are at least 1,911 victims of enforced and involuntary disappearances from the late Ferdinand Marcos Sr.’s regime to the current administration of Marcos Jr. 

The names of 11 victims of enforced disappearances under Marcos Jr.:

Elgene Mungcal

Ma. Elena Pampoza

Ariel Badiang

Renel delos Santos

Denald Laloy Mialen

Lyn Grace Martullinas

Dexter Capuyan

Gene Roz Jamil de Jesus

Deah Lopez

Lee Sudario

Norman Ortiz

The families of the victims demanded answers from the government and the state forces about the whereabouts of their loved ones. 

The groups said authorities must open military camps and secret detention centers for families searching for the disappeared.

“If there is no holiday for abductors and perpetrators, neither is there a holiday for the families of the disappeared, who will leave no stone unturned in finding their loved ones,” said Burgos.

Eli Capuyan, brother of Dexter Capuyan who was allegedly abducted by state agents on April 28, said families of the disappeared continue to hope that one day, “they will be returned to us”. 

Concepcion Empeño, mother of desaparecido Karen Empeño who disappeared in 2006, warned the  Marcos Jr. administration “that by committing the same crimes as his dictator father, he and his government will be equally accountable and face the echoing demand for justice”. 

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