Light a Candle for the Disappeared

Press Statement of DESAPARECIDOS (Families of Desaparecidos for Justice)

This coming All Saints’ Day, we, the relatives of the disappeared continue to suffer but cannot mourn. We are uncertain whether our missing loved ones are still alive or already dead. There are no graves where we can light candles or offer flowers.

Those we call desaparecidos are our relatives who were abducted and are still missing. They come from the ranks of workers, peasants, professionals, youth, indigenous peoples and women who were tagged as enemies of the state. The military, police and paramilitia – the elements of the state are the only ones who would have the motive to silence them and stop them from their work in serving the people.

Many of the desaparecidos have been missing for years. There were more than 1,500 victims of enforced disappearance from the Marcos Dictatorship, up to the Aquino administration. Under the administration of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, 186 have been documented missing.

Philip Limjoco, Roland Porter, Rudy and Gabriel Calubad, Sherlyn Cadapan, Karen Empeño, Prudencio Calubid, Celina Palma, Gloria Soco, Ariel Beloy, and Leopoldo Ancheta are but few of the latest victims of enforced disappearance.

This proves that the Philippines is one of the countries which implement enforced disappearance as a systematic form of repression on its people, while the perpetrators remain scot-free.

This coming November 2, we ask our fellow Filipinos who love freedom and justice, to join us as we light candles in front of our homes, for the desaparecidos.

The light of our candles will serve as the symbol of our burning hope, to attain justice and to punish the perpetrators of enforced disappearances. We believe that the candles will also light the way home for our missing loved ones.

Please also join us in our tribute to all desaparecidos on November 2, at 10 am at the grounds of the Redemptorist Church sa Baclaran.

May the light of our candles on Nov. 2 reach the highest leader of the land who is ultimately responsible for the continuing enforced disappearances and many other crimes in the land.


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