Relatives and friends of victims of enforced disappearances hold gathering

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Relatives and friends of the disappeared or victims of enforced disappearance gathered last April 2 at Bantayog ng mga Bayani, Quezon City. They reaffirmed their unity to continue the search for their missing relatives and call for justice amid increasing cases of abductions under the Marcos regime. Desaparecidos and Free Jonas Burgos Movement led the gathering.

In the program, the relatives of desaparecidos Jonas Burgos, Gene Roz Jamil “Bazoo” de Jesus, Armando Portajada and Rizalina Ilagan offered their messages. They shared their experiences and their collective anguish in searching for missing victims. “With the number of desaparecidos increasing under the current regime, this gathering aims to strengthen our unity,” the Desaparecidos statement said.

The latest victims of abduction and enforced disappearance were reported on the last week of March. Environmental activists Francisco “Eco” Dangla III and Joxelle “Jak” Tiong were abducted on March 24, at 8 p.m., by state forces in Barangay Polo, San Carlos City, Pangasinan. After persistent demands and searching, they were surfaced on March 27.

They are the 22nd and 23rd cases of abduction victims under the Marcos regime. In the official record of Karapatan, 12 of abductees have not been surfaced to date. They are: Elgene Mungcal, Ma. Elena Pampoza, Ariel Badiang, Renel delos Santos, Denald Laloy Mialen, Lyn Grace Martullinas, Dexter Capuyan, Gene Roz Jamil de Jesus, Bea Lopez, Lee Sudario, Norman Ortiz and Mariano Jolongbayan. Last February, Anakbayan-Southern Mindanao reported the abduction of activist and writer Nelson Bautista Jr.

At the end of the program, they lit torches and lanterns as a symbol of their tireless and relentless search for truth and justice. They vowed to persevere in actions and activities for their relatives until justice is served.

The group will commemorate the 17th anniversary of the disappearance of Jonas Burgos on April 28. The abduction of Burgos, an organizer and activist, in 2007 in Quezon City was one of the most prominent cases of human rights violations under the fascist Arroyo regime. This day also coincides with the commemoration of the one-year disappearance of Dexter Capuyan and Gene Roz Jamil de Jesus, defenders of indigenous peoples’ rights in the Cordillera, on the night of April 28, 2023 in Taytay, Rizal.

AB: Relatives and friends of victims of enforced disappearances hold gathering