Asian
Federation
Against Involuntary
Disappearances

In all these 18 years, organizational storms in forms of threats, risks, resource constraints have not weakened, but instead strengthened further the Federation.  Its common basis of unity and the imperative of solidarity have transcended geographical boundaries and differences in many respects among AFAD’s member-organizations.  Linking arms with like-minded organizations in the region and in the rest of the world will ensure that AFAD’s voice be made loud and clear enough to be heard.  

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Atty. Hermon C. Lagman was a militant labor and human rights lawyer during martial law. He taught the workers not only labor rights but also the value of critical and decisive thinking, self-reliance and steadfastness, collective leadership, and shared responsibility. He motivated trade unions and workers’ organizations to assert and defend their rights even in defiance of the martial law ban on strikes and other concerted activities.

The commission of enforced disappearance, which is a multiple violation of human rights, has been unabated in the Philippines. The Marcos regime registered the highest number of reported victims at 882, followed by the Cory Aquino administration at 825. There were 340 reported victims under the administration of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, 94 under Ramos, 58 under Estrada, and 25 under the present Aquino government.

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Having been raised and sent to school by the religious, Porferia Acuram became a church-based volunteer worker. She served not only her fellow Subanens, but all those who needed her help including victims of encounters between the military and the insurgents, some of the latter she would bring to the hospital. On July 19, 1989, she solicited food from the Red Cross for two wounded communist rebels. She was arrested along with her husband later on the same day.

The commission of enforced disappearance, which is a multiple violation of human rights, has been unabated in the Philippines. The Marcos regime registered the highest number of reported victims at 882, followed by the Cory Aquino administration at 825. There were 340 reported victims under the administration of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, 94 under Ramos, 58 under Estrada, and 25 under the present Aquino government.

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The militarization of Zamboanga del Sur in the 1980s to counter the communist insurgency spawned numerous arbitrary arrests, torture, extrajudicial killings, and enforced disappearances. One of the municipalities that were transformed by the military into virtual “no man’s land” was Tigbao. Suspected rebels and their supporters who were tortured and killed were dumped by the sidewalks or haphazardly buried. In April 2001, after almost a month of digging, FIND’s exhumation team unearthed the remains of 12 desaparecidos, 7 of them on the campus of Tigbao Elementary School.

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