Desaparecidos to Pope: Disappearances destroyed our families

Press Release: January 19, 2015

"Enforced disappearances have destroyed our families, the very foundation of a society and church. Children are left motherless or fatherless," Lorena Santos, secretary general of Families of Desaparecidos for Justice said upon hearing Pope Francis' speech at Malacañang and in his meeting with representatives of Filipino families.

Lorena Santos
Lorena P. Santos, secretary general - Desaparecidos
"The remaining members of the family had to seek refuge away from their way home to secure their lives. We live in fear and in constant threat," Santos said. "In this way, dear Pope, we feel only violence, cruelty and further inequality," Santos continued.

"Our pain and suffering in search for our disappeared loved ones have been too long. But the consequences of enforced disappearance in the communities and the society leave a deeper scar that frightens, and even silence anyone who thinks of voicing out for the poor," Santos said. "This is what our missing loved ones did, serve the poor and became their voice. This is why they were abducted and disappeared," Santos continued.

"With your call to our government leaders for “moral imperative of ensuring social justice and respect for human dignity' we, families of desaparecidos find in our hearts the need to enjoin you in our quest for justice," Santos asked the “People's Pope”.

"We have written you letters to ask for your help. We hope these letters will reach you," Santos said. "Our missing loved ones deserve justice. Their children and the younger generations need to be assured that crimes against humanity should not go with impunity," Santos said. "We don’t want our children and the youth to continue to live a life of injustice and inequality, " Santos added.

"We ask you dear Pope, to call on to stop enforced disappearances in the Philippines and in other countries. Again, be with us in our quest for justice to all victims of human rights violations," Santos said.

"Our missing loved ones believed and worked for a just society, free from the bondage of inequality. Like you, we believe that this is what 'heaven on earth' means. Like you, we want to build this society for our children," Santos concluded. ###

Reference: Lorena P. Santos, secretary general - Desaparecidos


Fasting in Solidarity with Political Prisoners in the Philippines

News Release:  Thursday, January 15, 2015 

The Centre d'appui aux Philippines / Centre for Philippine Concerns calls on its members and supporters to join in a 24-hr fast starting at 6 pm Saturday, January 17 until 6 pm Sunday, January 18, 2015 in solidarity with political prisoners in the Philippines.

The almost 500 political prisoners in 43 jails across the Philippines started a hunger strike-fast January 15, 2015 as they also lit candles to welcome Pope Francis, who was beginning a 4-day visit to that country. The hunger strike aims to highlight the call to release all political prisoners and for Pope Francis to intercede on their behalf. 

People’s cry for justice and peace 

Christina Palabay, of the Philippine human rights organization Karapatan, explained that the political prisoners are among those people who, “question, challenge, or change the unjust order; those who are threatened, killed, disappeared or detained by the authorities who have guns and tanks to protect the rich, the hacienderos, and the powerful.”
The unjust order, she explained, is the unabated violations of the“people’s rights to land, decent jobs and living wages, shelter, accessible health and education services.”
“No amount of posh welcome rites or overkill security arrangements by the current administration can hide the glaring poverty and injustice in Philippine society, especially amid corruption scandals that rocked the nation these past years,” she added.
Karapatan reiterated its call for the BS Aquino government to address the roots of the armed conflict through peace negotiations, instead of going into military campaigns of suppression against the people. “The state of unpeace and the narratives of oppression continue,” she said.
With His Holiness’ visit to the Philippines, Karapatan enjoins Pope Francis to “hear the calls of political prisoners and their kin for their freedom, and the cry for justice of relatives of the desaparecidos and the victims of political killings. Theirs are voices that cannot be silenced, even by the most brutal forms of repression.”
“We ask him to stand with the poor and oppressed, and to struggle with us for just and lasting peace in our nation,” Palabay concluded. 
Community supper to break the fast, 6 pm, Sunday, January 18, 2015
CPC and other Philippine community groups in Montreal, invite you to join them in a community supper Sunday at 6:00 pm to end the fast, and to hear from family members of political prisoners in the Philippines and other updates.
Place: St Paul's Anglican Church basement
3970 chemin de la Côte-Sainte-Catherine
Montréal, QC, Canada H3T 1E3 QC (Metro Côte-Sainte-Catherine)
 Meanwhile, please adopt this logo on your Facebook pages, and please circulate this event information.