Reference: Cristina Palabay, Convenor, End Impunity Alliance (0917-5003879)
Angge Santos, Media Liaison, End Impunity Alliance (0915-2117610)

Midnight, our sons and daughters
Were cut down and taken from us
Hear their heartbeat
We hear their heartbeat…
-U2, Mothers of the Disappeared

In the Philippines, as we commemorate the International Day of the Disappeared today, August 30, we remember the sons, daughters, mothers, and fathers who were forcibly taken away from their loved ones and their communities by state security forces. We remember them – their lives, their aspirations for social justice and freedoms, their pains, their triumphs.

We remember the 206 individuals who were victims of enforced disappearances under the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo government. They were farmers, workers, indigenous peoples, youth and students, women, church workers, human rights defenders, freedom fighters. They were among those who dare led and were part of legitimate voices of opposition to the anti-people, corrupt, and repressive policies of the previous government. For this reason, they were vilified and maligned as enemies of the state, and then abducted by elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police, never to be seen again up to this day. They are Jonas Burgos, Sherlyn Cadapan, Karen Empeño, Leo Velasco, Gloria Soco, Prudencio Calubid, and many others who have devoted their lives to just causes. It is in their memory and in remembrance of the hundreds who were disappeared in the Philippines and around that world that we started the Facebook campaign for users to take down their profile pictures on this day, to symbolize their solidarity with the victims and their families.

Next to the Marcos dictatorship, the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo administration is notorious not only for corruption and abuse of power but also for the gross, systematic and brazen violation of human rights. No one has been put behind bars for these numerous cases of enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, torture, illegal arrests and detention, among others. Such brazenness of state forces in committing these crimes emanate from the glaring fact that no one has been made accountable for these acts.

Such climate of impunity exists to this day, as there are already eight cases of enforced disappearances under the term of Pres. Noynoy Aquino. They are, among others, Agustito Ladero and Renato Deliguer, farmers in Surigao del Sur; Alfredo Bucal, a tricycle driver, and his passenger Tomas Sayto, in Batangas; Michael Celeste, Gerald Abale, and Jully Devero who are members of a peasant organization in EB Magalona, Negros Occidental.
We call on the Aquino government to immediately pass the Anti-Enforced Disappearance Bill that will criminalize such brutal acts. We also call on the current administration to immediately ratify the UN International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, which outlines the responsibilities of state parties in protecting its citizens from such crime. We express our support for the efforts of Editha Burgos, Connie Empeño, and Linda Cadapan — mothers of the disappeared – in the charges that they have filed in court against the perpetrators of such crimes against their children. We are one with the families and friends of the disappeared in calling on the president to put a stop to enforced disappearances and all human rights violations and pursue justice for the victims and their families. As we remember them, we hear their heartbeat for justice and for the end of impunity in our land.

August 18, 2011

Reference: Cristina Palabay, Convenor, End Impunity Alliance (0917-5003879)
Angge Santos, Media Liaison, End Impunity Alliance (0915-2117610)

A broad network that will conduct a nationwide campaign against the prevalent climate of impunity in the country is launched today during the National Conference to End Impunity sponsored by the National Council of Churches of the Philippines (NCCP), Karapatan, Ecumenical Mission for Peace and Development (EMPD) and organizations and individuals under the Ecumenical Voice for Peace and Human Rights in the Philippines (Ecumenical Voice) at the Adamson University in Manila.

The End Impunity Alliance, an alliance of human rights defenders and advocates; victims of human rights violations and their families, friends and supporters; civil libertarians; church people; members of the law profession, media and the academe; other professionals; progressive legislators and government functionaries; and all other freedom-loving individuals is formed to amplify the call for justice of victims of human rights violations under the Arroyo government and to call on Pres. Noynoy Aquino to stop extrajudicial killings and other human rights violations.

“Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo should answer the many questions regarding her accountability not only for the massive corruption and fraud under her previous administration, but also on her responsibility for the gross human rights violations under her watch. Impunity prevails because no one has been put behind bars for the human rights violations up to the present. Thus, it is important that freedom-loving individuals call on the Aquino administration to decisively stop the human rights violations in the country and end the reigning climate of impunity by ensuring justice is rendered to victims,” Cristina Palabay, convenor of the End Impunity Alliance, said.

Under the Arroyo administration, Karapatan has documented 1,206 victims of extrajudicial killings, 206 victims of enforced disappearances and thousands more victims of other forms of human rights abuse. Since Pres. Aquino assumed office on July 1, 2010 up to July 21, 2011, Karapatan has already documented 50 cases of extrajudicial killings, eight cases of enforced disappearance and more than a hundred cases of illegal arrests and detention

A “Declaration to End Impunity” was signed by personalities, convenors of the alliance, and delegates to the conference. In the declaration, they “demand(ed) the prosecution of those responsible, most especially former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her generals, for the crimes against the Filipino people. “ They likewise “call(ed) on President Noynoy Aquino to keep his promises and hold accountable the previous GMA administration for the numerous human rights violations committed under its watch; and stop the extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests and detention, enforced disappearances, forced evacuation of rural villages and other human rights violations which continue as brazenly to this day.”

Among the convenors of the alliance are Rev. Fr. Rex RB. Reyes Jr., General Secretary of NCCP; Caloocan Bishop Deogracias S. Iñiguez, Jr. and Bp. Solito K. Toquero, Co-chairs of Ecumenical Bishops’ Forum; Rev. Fr. Quirico Pedregosa, Co-chair of the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines; Obispo Maximo Ephraim Fajutagana of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente; Bp. Reuel Norman O. Marigza, General Secretary of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP); Bp. Elmer Bolocon, Bishop Emeritus, UCCP; Dr. Editha Burgos of Desaparecidos and mother of disappeared activist Jonas; Marie Hilao Enriquez, Chairperson of Karapatan; multi-awarded film director Joel Lamangan; Cristina Palabay, Tanggol Bayi Convenor; Atty. Ephraim Cortez, Atty. Edre Olalia, Judge Alfredo Ampuan, Atty. Teofisto Melliza, Atty. Emiliano Deliverio, Atty. Madonna Ghay Escio and Atty. Janne Baterna of the National Union of People’s Lawyers; Atty. Carlos Zarate of the Union of People’s Lawyers in Mindanao; Caloocan Vice Mayor Egay Erice; Nardy Sabino of Promotion of Church People’s Response (PCPR); Glenda Co, wife of slain botanist Leonard Co; Atty. Victoria Loanzon, Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Quezon City Chair; Br. Pablo F.Ramirez Jr., O. Carm of the Task Force for Urban Conscientization; UP Staff Regent Jossel I. Ebesate; Prof. Rolando B. Tolentino, Dean, UP Diliman College of Mass Communications; Fr. Joe Dizon of Solidarity Philippines; Fr. Jonash Joyohoy of the Ramento Project for Rights Defenders; Dr. Eleanor Jara; Jeff R. Vito of the College of the Holy Spirit; filmmaker Kiri Dalena; Felix B. Parinas, National President, All UP Workers Union; Nestor Burgos, Chairperson, National Union of Journalists in the Philippines; Rowena Paraan, Secretary General of NUJP; Gwen Pimentel; Rev. Luisito Saliendra of the Union Theological Seminary; Prof. Lex Muga of Ateneo de Manila; Amy Muga of CEFAM Ateneo; Prof. Danilo Arao, Assistant Professor of Journalism, UP Diliman; Donalou Galingan, General Secretary of Kalipunan ng Kristiyanong Kabataan sa Pilipinas; Norma Dollaga, Secretary General of KASIMBAYAN; Monette Salaysay of Justice Now!; and actor Allen Dizon.

Among the personalities who signed the declaration are Fr. Greg Bañaga, Adamson University President; Prof. Bienvenido Lumbera, National Artist for Literature; University of the Philippines Regent Bibeth Orteza; Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares; former Rep. Satur Ocampo; former Rep. Liza Maza; ACT Rep. Antonio Tinio; Bayan Muna Rep. Teodoro Casiño; Gabriela Rep. Luz Ilagan; multi-awarded scriptwriter and director Bonifacio Ilagan; visual artists Julie Lluch Dalena and Prof. Neil Doloricon; filmmakers Anna Isabelle Matutina, Rob Jara, Keith Sicat, Aba Dalena, Sari Dalena; Best Supporting Actor Cinemalaya 2011 Jaime Pebanco; beauty queen and actress Maria Isabel Lopez, beauty queen and actress; Prof. Ma, Corazon Jimenez-Tan, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, UP Diliman; Prof. Melania Abad, Vice Chancellor for Community Affairs, UP Diliman; poet Mila Aguilar; Ramon Guillermo, National President, All UP Academic Employees Union; Rev. Sol Villalon; and Fr. Oliver Estor.

More than 250 human rights defenders, victims and kin of victims, and civil libertarians attended the conference to end impunity.

End Impunity Alliance

Posted: August 18, 2011 in Uncategorized