Sunday, July 1, 2007

July 8 Topic>>Desaparecidos: Let's take a closer look on ENFORCED or INVOLUNTARY DISAPPEARANCES.

Conversations, when true, aren't rehearsed nor staged. The beauty of a live radio show is that we get to listen to a good mix of the 'rehearsed lines' and the candid reactions to unexpected points raised. Both are true, but the latter more believable.

Before the show Rock Ed Radio hosts briefed all the guests that the primary purpose of this episode is to inform listeners of the reality of enforced disappearances. It is not to choreograph a debate to get people tuning in, but if that is the case, then this is certainly a necessary verbal duel to witness. All participants agree that the primary audience of the night is the NU107 listener. And not necessarily each other. Whew.Representing the AFP Spokesperson's Office is Lt. Jean Robles. Robles, a PMA graduate who attended BroadComm in UP Diliman, was disarming. To send a fresh face to represent what is perceived as the most lupine collective in the country was obviously not a random decision. Definitely - a wise one. We know that the military (right or wrong) has always been in the hotseat regarding the issue of enforced disappearances and abductions and to send in your typical military wolf would've been disastrous for them. Cheers to the AFP for being open to join this challenging invitation. Lt. Robles was initially very contrived. She was dishing out the FAQ answers like "...the AFP is here to protect and uphold the people's rights." And while on paper, this is true, the group certainly had reservations because of all the stories (true or otherwise) about some units within the military. The nature of this beast is harsh, I think their biggest challenge is to prove themselves gentle and truly protective of the people instead of the other way around. After a few rounds, Jean relaxed a bit and showed a human face to the AFP and I have to hand it to her. I know she came determined to do a good job in enlightening us about the subject at hand and that she came in the capacity of AFP Spokesperson's Office rep. I hope I get to talk to her off the record someday, though. Mrs. Edith Burgos's son is missing. Jonas, her eldest, was forcibly abducted last April 28. She was more graceful than I imagined, she says they are looking for Jonas with love and peace in their hearts, but with an unmistakeable fire that says, "To the listeners: regardless of what you do, you have rights. You have a right not to be forcibly taken. Even criminals have the human right to be subject to due process, innocent til proven guilty. So whatever it is that you are asking about Jonas, it was NOT RIGHT that he was just taken away without any of us knowing where or how he is. Maling-mali yung ginawa sa kaniya. Kung may ginawa man siya, i-charge ninyo, idaan sa korte. Everyone deserves to go through due process of the law..." Enough said. Mrs. Burgos also says that prayer keeps her steady about this whole thing. She narrates how life has changed for them since that day Jonas disappeared. She even says they haven't stopped knocking on doors, inquiring from people in power, even identifying corpses just to find some answer to this gnawing question. It was unnerving to hear her so calm, her voice steady as she says the phrase, "identifying corpses" -- kung ako yon....susmaryosep.
JL Burgos narrates the incident of his family's group gathering in front of Camp Aguinaldo to inquire and protest about the disappearance of Jonas. The military responded by facing large speakers onto the crowd and played grossly asinine music like "Jumbo Hotdog." (what da?!) It was an out and out slap onto their right to be heard. Lt. Jean Robles explains that the military usually plays music during rallies because it helps appease and calm the crowd. And that was their only purpose. It wasn't to suppress the family's right to be heard. I'll leave this blank. Your call on how to react to that explanation. To her credit, Robles did admit it was certainly not the best choice of music to play. (Ya think?) Mr. Joey Faustino is part of the group called FIND. (http://www.find.org.ph/) Families of the Victims of Involuntary Disappearances. He recalls his older brother Jerry, who at 21 years old, disappeared in 1977. Til today there are no leads. Joey says the military gave a total denial and since it was Martial Law at that time, they also had no means to probe further. He narrates that as a 13 year old, he would accompany exhumation trips to shallow mass graves in the hopes of finding his brother's remains, at the very least. He recalls seeing a group of bodies of young people whose skulls were all cracked and beat. He narrates this while we listen with morbid curiousity at how matter-of-fact this activity was for him. Finding his Kuya has always been and seems to always be at the forefront of Joey's life agenda. We should all hold torches for the families with similar circumstances. Joey is decided that this phenomenon is systemic. There has to be changes in other aspects of governance in order to address this. He questions the Congress for not placing laws protecting Filipinos from being subject to enforced disappearances as priority. He sighs and says that the legislative branch has strange ideas of what is most important. When human life and physical safety should be smack on top of their urgent to-do lists. What a circus, huh?
Both JL and Joey have apprehensions about the responses of the military. They stayed gentlemanly though when asking Lt. Robles about the stances of the AFP when it comes to specific movements in their investigations. (Whew, mahirap siguro yon...) The investigative reports that are not turned over to the family. Precious information withheld. The only lead they have points straight to a military camp and yet they are scoffed at as jumping the gun on this accusation. JL calls out to the people who know something about his brother's disappearance to come out and help. Lt. Robles says the AFP is doing all they can because more than any other group, the AFP is anxious to clear its name in this mess. Hmm. Joey, however agitated, was cool and steady enough to say that he appreciates the presence of Lt. Robles because at least they are extending an openness to discuss these things, at the very least. It's a much more progressive move than blaring campy music onto a crowd. (Campy music in Camp Aguinaldo)

There is still so much to this episode, but I decided to keep my summary sanitized. (Sa lagay na 'to ha...sanitized na yan.) Having a brother who is a desaparecido is something I cannot even begin to imagine. Aso nga lang na nawawala nakakabuwal na ng buhay, utol pa kaya o anak.

Much as we try to stay non-partisan in our politics, Rock Ed Radio decided to tackle issues that are real, pressing, and oftentimes ignored. And if names of people with rank and power come up in the process of the discussion, then so be it. It is more important for us to talk about this than to stay paranoid about the consequences. Besides, if these controversial events are depriving people of their rights are TRUE, then it shouldn't even take courage to talk about it. In a democracy, this should be matter of fact. Sa isang tunay na demokrasya, hindi nga kailangan ng kakaibang tapang para magsalita ng katotohanan, dahil sa tunay na malayang bansa, normal lang ang pag usapan itong mga 'to --nang walang takot.

Tibak man o konyo, lahat tayo may kinagagawan dito. Ang tanga na natin kung hahayaan lang natin ang mga nawawala, manatiling nawawala.

Sana may natutunan kayo kagabi. Dahil kami, madami.

-Gang Badoy


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This Sunday-July 8, 2007- will be a day of great learning for all of us on Rock Ed Radio. The hosts, listeners, researchers and the NU staff on-board will listen to stories of real people who are enduring the enforced disappearances of members of their family.

Guesting that night will be JL Burgos, younger brother of Agriculturalist, Jonas Burgos. Jonas is a member of the peasant organization, Alyansang Magbubukid ng Bulacan. Jonas, according to witnesses, was forcibly taken by a group of 6 males and 1 female while he was having lunch at the Hapag Kainan Restaurant in Ever Gotesco Mall, Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City, on April 28, 2007 at about 1.30 p.m. As he was being forcibly taken, he was shouting “Aktibista lang po ako!” If schedule permits, Edith Burgos-the mother of both Jonas and JL, will join us during the show.


Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearances (FIND) will be represented by Mr. Joey Faustino.


An enforced disappearance occurs when persons are arrested, detained or abducted against their will or otherwise deprived of their liberty. This is usually followed by a refusal to disclose the whereabouts of the abducted person and therefore puts that individual outside the protection of the law.

"Some men arrive. They force their way into a family's home, rich or poor, house, hovel or hut, in a city or in a village, anywhere. They come at any time of the day or night, usually in plain clothes, sometimes in uniform, always carrying weapons. Giving no reasons, producing no arrest warrant, frequently without saying who they are or on whose authority they are acting, they drag off one or more members of the family towards a car, using violence in the process if necessary." *

We all agree that this should end.

Subukan natin pag usapan ito. When we stay silent, it is almost as bad as saying this rabid violation is okay or that it is acceptable. Clearly, it is not.

Mag post ng mga tanong at comment dito, para maisama sa programa ngayong Linggo.




*quote taken from the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights website.
Read more about the Free Jonas Burgos Movement

12 comments:

elayne said...

It's very ironic how the Philippines has become the 2nd most dangerous place for journalists when our country's the oldest democracy in Asia. tama nga si chief justice Panganiban, hindi pa tunay na malaya ang Pilipinas.

Anong klaseng demokrasya ba meron ang Pilipinas ngayon? pinahahalagahan pa ba ang demokrasya ngayon? Nagpapabaya na ba ang tao? ang hirap sagutin kaya ibabato ko na lang ang tanong sa inyo.

The military's duty is to protect the people. ang hirap kapag ang mga taong inaasahan mong magpoprotekta sayo ang siyang kumikitil ng buhay, ng demokrasya. Paano pa tayo lalaban? At sino nga ba dapat ang maging accountable sa lahat ng 'to? gobyerno lang ba?

ana banana said...

minsan sobrang nakakatakot nang umangal at magsalita kapag may alam kang nangyayaring mga katiwalian...minsan itthreaten pati pamilya mo..may pinalabas na dokyu sa school namin tungkol jan..sobrang nakakatakot, nakakaduwag... at the same time sobrang nakakainis at nakakagalit pero parang sa panahon ngayon kung wala kang koneksyon..kung wala kang kapangyarihan wala kang mapapala..

sobrang nakakainis noh? ano nga bang magagawa nating mga simpleng mamamayan tungkol dyan?..may pag asa pa ba tayong makalaban o habang buhay nalang tayong sunud-sunuran? hay buhay...

Anonymous said...

sana, ma identify, eksakto, kung ano ung mga bagay na humahadlang sa pag lutas ng prublemang ito.
nang sa gayon ay magkaroon ng idea kung paano ito lulutasin.

isa rito ang nabanggit ni anna banana.

ang takot.
takot kanino?

at ano ang tulong na maasahan natin mula sa gubyerno? kung meron man.
kung wala,
meron ba tayong ibang malalapitan?

watdaefpare said...

Political killings.
There is a chain of command in the military. Apparently, regardless of their sole duty to uphold our security, they obey their superiors, the highest of whom is the Chief of Staff, the president. Unless of course another Trillanes dares voice out otherwise.

Anonymous said...

ano nga ang puwedeng gawin ng mga studyante lamang?

dennis said...

JL BURGOS! Wag mawalan ng pag-asa. Tutulong kami.

elaine said...

Ano talaga ang ginagawa ni Jonas para sa alyansang magbubukid at siya ang dinakip? Ano kaya dahilan? Sinong galit sa kaniya?

jen said...

aabangan ko to.

shinji said...

for Ancheta and Burgos: nawalan na ba kayo ng pag asa?

Trixie Cabilan said...

Hmm. Hindi pa rin clear kung paano ipa-punish yung mga tao behind political killings and yung disappearances sa SONA ni Gloria. Share ko lang. Sana wag na dumami pa yung bilang ng mga tao/aktibistang nawawala dahil lamang ipinagtatanggol nila ang karapatan ng mamamayan.

By the way, may short story na pinabasa sa'min ng prof ko during Filipino Lit class. It's Ricky Lee's "Kabilang sa mga Nawawala". It's a nice read, tungkol sa social involvement. Sharing lang.

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