“We do not have a grave to go to” – Desaparecidos

FAMILIES of the disappeared gathered together at the Redemptorist Shrine in Baclaran to remember those who have been missing, while the whole nation celebrates the All Souls Day.

“We do not have a grave to go to, a place to offer our loved ones with flowers and light a candle because they are never found,” said Lorena Santos, deputy secretary general of Families of Desaparecidos for Justice or Desaparecidos.

“It is here at the Redemptorist Church that we find haven in remembering our missing loved ones,” Santos said.

In a brief program, human rights supporters and advocates read poems about the disappeared while a street play was performed. An ecumenical prayer was offered and flowers were placed in front of the photos of those who disappeared.

The gathering is the 3rd General Assembly of the Families of Desaparecidos for Justice.

“We open our General Assembly indignant to President Noynoy Aquino’s reactions to human rights violations,” Santos said.

“The butcher Palparan is still at large, despite the increase of bounty; the anti-enforced disappearance bill has not been signed yet; and, now human rights violations is tagged as ‘leftist propaganda’,” she said.

“This is adding insult to our injury,” Santos said. “Not only has Noynoy turned his back on us, but he also left a trail of nails to injure us in our search for the missing,” Santos said, metaphorically.

Families of the disappeared from Panay Island, Negros Occidental, Caraga Region, Southern Tagalog and Central Luzon arrived to participate in the General Assembly. Among them Lilia Devero, whose husband Jully was abducted in August 11 5 , 2011. They were joined by other families whose loved ones were also abducted from different regimes – from martial law to the present and since then have remained missing.

With the Assembly’s theme, “Patatagin ang pagkakaisa ng pamilya ng mga desaparecidos! Makibaka para sa katarungan! Labanan ang karahasan at panunupil ng Rehimeng US-Aquino!” Families of Desaparecidos for Justice vowed to remain steadfast in searching for their missing loved ones and in seeking justice.

“We assure the President that we will not stop our propaganda work, to inform the public that enforced disappearance is your government’s policy, as we continue to search for our missing loved ones and pursue justice because you have failed to do so,” Santos said.

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