My name is Relyn T. Bon, 21 years old, a graduate of Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education in the University of Pasig, Philippines. I am currently working as an Administrative and Finance Staff of Teachers’ Dignity Coalition a non-government organization for teachers in the Philippines. I’m here to represent Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance (FIND) – a human rights advocate in the Philippines where the Samahan ng mga Anak ng Desaparecidos or Association of the Children of the Disappeared from which I take part. It is one of the pet programs they established to help for the rehabilitation of sons/daughters of the victim of involuntary disappearance. I am glad to be part of the 19th Annual Conference here at Balducci Centre, reflecting upon: “Children and Women of the World: Protagonist of the Human Future”. It is indeed a great privilege to be a proactive participant of this convention.
I really feel so honored to share with you my personal experienced as a child of a disappeared and how our family faced the situation. I’m just one of the numerous children, parents, wives, brothers and sister of the disappeared in the Philippines who are also experienced losing a loved ones. Some victims were found surfaced alive; while other found dead and many are still remain missing.
We are six siblings in the family of three girls and three boys. I am the youngest. My mother’s name is Yolanda T. Bon, 56 of age a member of FIND. She was only three months pregnant with me when my father disappeared. A simple housewife but because of the disappearance of my father she work hard for her to support and fed us. My father’s name is Remigio P. Bon, He was a labor leader and a member of Alyansa ng Manggagawa sa Pasig (ALMAPAS) a labor organization. He disappeared August 8, 1989 at Barangay Ueg, San Mariano, Isabela, Philippines. The probable cause of his disappearance is politically motivated. My father’s disappearance has been psychologically and emotionally traumatizing our surviving family, because he is the breadwinner in the family. A very sad experienced that I have because I grew up without him to guide and to care for me while I’m growing. I lost the person who could be the first source of my strength and help me when I’m in trouble or need advice. It’s very difficult to realize that I missed out the father who could make me laugh or smile when I feel bad and most specially to show his love for me. But I know wherever he is now he protects our family.
After six years of his disappearance the horrible remains of my father was exhumed June 23, 1995 I was five years old then. FIND workers, together with my mother and the University of the Philippines (UP) Anthropologist Professor Jerome Bailen went to Barangay Ueg, San Mariano, Isabela Philippines to conduct a low profile investigation and searched to my father’s remains. Base on the investigation that they conducted the result was positive. The remains of my father brought to the UP laboratory for the examination of his skeletal remains and base on the autopsy report my father was summarily executed. He was given a final burial October 29, 1995. Enforced Disappearance is the most cruel and most brutal form of human rights violation because it violates the right to life of a victim like what had happened to my father. Indeed, my father’s human rights were violated and the worst part of the story since our bread winner and the head of our family’s life were taken away from us we until now are suffering form its holistic turmoil.
Our country, the Philippines, is one of those who have reports on human rights violations and our family’s story is just one of the various cases. One specific case of human Rights violation in the Philippines is the so – called enforced Disappearance. What is Enforced Disappearance? Enforced Disappearance – “is the arrest, detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty by agent of the state or by persons or group of persons acting with the authorization, support or acquiescence of the State, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or by concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person, which place such a person outside the protection of the law.” (as define by the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance).
We as human beings are entitled to certain rights or freedom of action to realize our innermost potentials and to achieve our goals and aspirations. Needless to say basically we have the right to life, to dignity, self-development, to survive, to self-determination and to national development. But as much as we would like to preserve the inalienable and inviolable rights of each human family, violations of the said rights are happening in each country. Reported atrocities of human rights violation are been reported in the United Nations and other international body and non-governmental organizations which advocated the protection of human rights. Continue reading
ni Bernah BernardoYan ang larawan ng pamilya na hindi ko na muling naramdaman Ang apat na kamay sa aking munting katawan Ay naging dalawa na, mula na lamang kay Nanay Kaya naman may bahagi ng katawan ko na laging giniginaw Sa kabila nito, patuloy akong lumaki Natutong tumawa, gumapang at tumayo Sa lahat ng ito, si Inay at mga kapatid lamang ang nakasama Walang amang dadampot kapag ako’y nadadapa Walang mababang boses na awit kapag ako’y matutulog At walang mahinahong payo sa bawat pagkakamali ko. Sa munting mga paraan, natuto akong maglaro. Minsan isang araw, nakakita ako ng bata bukod sa kanyang nanay, may kahawak pa siya sa kabilang kamay malaki ang katawan, mataas na parang higante mukhang malakas at matapang. “Tatay” ang narinig ko nang siya’y tawagin ng bata. Ako’y tumingin kay Nanay at pagkatapos tumingin sa kabila kong kamay. Bakit walang nakahawak sa akin na Tatay? Continue reading
Enforced or involuntary disappearance. Many Filipinos are still unaware of how widespread this odious offense is in the country. The commission of this offense did not end with the Marcos regime, but continued with each succeeding administration.
Many of the victims are workers. Workers who were forced to fight for their rights, which capitalists shamelessly violated. Workers who fought for their principles against those who belong to the more powerful echelons of the society.
Who would have thought that the State, mandated to protect its citizens, is the main culprit behind such offense? Disappearance is perpetrated by State agents who claim that these workers hinder economic growth, when in fact all they are guilty of is hindering capitalist’ accumulation of wealth. These capitalist seem to have forgotten that labor is a primary economic force and that the works who supply it shed blood and sweat just to put some food on the table – even if it’s just a meal of salt and rice. All the while, they who own the companies wallow in riches. Continue reading
We will forever be grateful for your bravery and sacrifice, your intelligence, the times we spent together, the lives you led when you were still alive.
Though we have yet to find justice for your disappearance, beloved heroes, we are here to continue the struggles you started. And we know that you are here to guide us. You may not be beside us physically, but we know you remain with us, giving us strength.
We are thankful because although you left many families behind, you also left us with memories that will always remain in our hearts. We may not have experienced for ourselves what you went through – risking your lives not just for your families, but for the whole nation – still, this much we know: you were triumphant.
Unwittingly, you also left traces of intense pain in our lives. the wounds are still with us, your comrades, spouses, children, families, all people whose lives you touched. Nevertheless, we thank you for loving your country so much, that you sacrificed even your lives. Continue reading
Sa muling pagmulat ng mga mata, tanong ang bumubulaga. Nakatitig sa kisame at tila sinasabing ‘kumilos ka at ang oras ay nasasayang’. Ngunit para saan ang oras? Para saan ang pag-kilos? Bakit may panghihinayang? Isang bagong umaga na namn ng paghihintay. Nauulinigan ko ang tinig ni Ina, ngunit hindi ni Ama. Walang malakas at mababang tinig ang sasalubong sa akin sa hapag-kainan.Walang malaking katawan na magbabasa ng drayo habang nagka-kape ang magtatanong ng aking mga gawain sa araw na iyon. WALA dahil si Ama ay WINALA. Ito ang isang bangungot na hindi ko kailanman nais pang maganap, ang kanyang MULING pagkawala.
Katulad ng isang pangkaraniwang araw, ika’y isang anak na nag-nanais na gumampan sa gawain bilang isang panganay. Ang makatulong sa bahay maging ang pagpapanatili sa kaligtasan niya. Ngunit nakakabahala lalo’t na tila si ama ay patuloy pa ring minamatyagana at ang posibilidad ng muling pagkawala ay maaring maulit. Hanggang kailan ba kami mangangaba para kanya?
Sa tagal ng panahon, inabot na sa halos labing anim na taon ang pagsusulong ng isang batas na nagnanais magbigay proteksyon sa laban sa sapilitang pagkawala. Ang batas na magtatanggal ng kaba sa aming pamilya. Kamakailan lamang ay ito ay naipasa na sa para pangalawang pagbasa sa Senado ngunit hindi sa Mababang Kapulungan. Gumagalaw? Mukhang kailangan ng igirang pagkalampag at walang katapusang diyalogo sa mga opisyal na ito. Continue reading
The Senate before adjourning sine die on Wednesday passed on second reading Senate Bill No. 2817 which seeks to define and penalize enforced disappearance.
Senate Bill No. 2817 was approved in substitution of Senate Bills numbered 100, 1226, 1455 and 2176 respectively authored by Senators Francis “Chiz” Escudero, Manuel Villar, Miriam Defensor Santiago and Francis Pangilinan.
Escudero, who chairs the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, steered the plenary approval of the measure with perfecting amendments proposed by Santiago.
The proposed human rights legislation adopts the definition of enforced disappearance under the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance which entered into force in December last year.
The definition considers the offense as a state-perpetrated deprivation of liberty whose commission is denied or where the fate and whereabouts of the disappeared are concealed by the authorities.
The bill does not only impose penalties but also provides for preventive measures as well as compensation to victims and/or their families and rehabilitation of both victims and offenders.
Under the bill, “victim” refers to the disappeared person and any individual who has suffered harm as a direct result of an enforced disappearance.
Bills criminalizing enforced disappearance have been filed in both the Senate and the House of Representatives since the 9th Congress. The House had approved the substitute bill on third and final reading in the past two Congresses but in the current 15th Congress, the six bills pending before the Committee on Justice are yet to be consolidated.
“The families of desaparecidos and human rights advocates have been lobbying for an anti-enforced disappearance law for 16 years now,” Wilma Q. Tizon, Secretary-General of the NGO Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance (FIND) said.
According to Tizon, the Senate’s approval of the bill is a big step toward the realization of the families’ dream to bring perpetrators of involuntary disappearance to justice.
“It will also spare other families the trauma that the odious offense wreaks,” Tizon added.
FIND has documented 1,820 out of the 2,160 reported victims of enforced disappearance from the Marcos regime to the present Aquino administration under which five have been reported.