FOLLOW THE DESAPARECIDOS,
DEFEND DEMOCRACY AND GOOD GOVERNANCE
It was only three years ago that the United Nations declared August 30 as the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearance. For years, however, the families of desaparecidos across continents marked the day as the International Day of the Disappeared to pay tribute to their missing kin.
Today, as the world observes the Day of the Disappeared, FIND and AFAD celebrate the sterling lives of the desaparecidos as defenders of freedom and democracy and as catalysts of developmental change. In this light, we invite President Aquino to train his warning against pseudo-reformists not only on his critics but on himself and his cohorts in government first. In paying tribute to past and present-day heroes on August 25, National Heroes’ Day, the President cautioned against “those who only pretend at reform.”
The genuine pro-people struggles of the desaparecidos for societal change should inspire self-declared reformists within and without government to tread the oft-invoked but yet to be walked straight path. And the people must be vigilant against the resurrection of a dictatorship that stifles political dissent with unrestrained enforced disappearances, torture, and extrajudicial killings.
The long road to EDSA 1 was paved by the blood and sweat of courageous political activists, at least 878 of whom have been forcibly disappeared. These include: student activist Rizalina Ilagan, college professor Charlie del Rosario, public accountant Romeo Crismo, labor and human rights lawyer Hermon Lagman, labor leader Victor Reyes, Benedictine deacon Carlos Tayag, Redemptorist priest Rudy Romano.