Asian
Federation
Against Involuntary
Disappearances

Having been raised and sent to school by the religious, Porferia Acuram became a church-based volunteer worker. She served not only her fellow Subanens, but all those who needed her help including victims of encounters between the military and the insurgents, some of the latter she would bring to the hospital. On July 19, 1989, she solicited food from the Red Cross for two wounded communist rebels. She was arrested along with her husband later on the same day.

The commission of enforced disappearance, which is a multiple violation of human rights, has been unabated in the Philippines. The Marcos regime registered the highest number of reported victims at 882, followed by the Cory Aquino administration at 825. There were 340 reported victims under the administration of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, 94 under Ramos, 58 under Estrada, and 25 under the present Aquino government.

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The militarization of Zamboanga del Sur in the 1980s to counter the communist insurgency spawned numerous arbitrary arrests, torture, extrajudicial killings, and enforced disappearances. One of the municipalities that were transformed by the military into virtual “no man’s land” was Tigbao. Suspected rebels and their supporters who were tortured and killed were dumped by the sidewalks or haphazardly buried. In April 2001, after almost a month of digging, FIND’s exhumation team unearthed the remains of 12 desaparecidos, 7 of them on the campus of Tigbao Elementary School.

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