August 15, 2011
Statement of Support for Philippine House Bill No. 3046
Katarungan fully supports House Bill No. 3046, an Act Defining and Penalizing the Crime of Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances. We salute the efforts of the solons who introduced the bill last September and continue to work for its passage.
Katarungan was formed during the height of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s regime’s orgy of extra-judicial killings, disappearance, torture and illegal arrests of over 1000 victims. We had the privilege of hosting Mrs. Edita Burgos, mother of still missing activist and victim of enforced disappearance, Jonas Burgos, in Washington, DC in 2008. Since that visit, this particular issue has become near and dear to our hearts.
We find it sad that there is a burning need for such a law to be enacted – that a government must be told that such horrendous acts are criminal; a crime against humanity. It speaks volumes of the continuing culture of impunity that reigns in the military, security forces and ultimately the administration. It is an abhorrent act that had started with the Marcos dictatorship but has never ceased to be utilized since.
It is for this reason that we support such a bill, and call on the Philippine legislature to pass it now, so that families and friends of the disappeared can be equipped with one more tool in their quest for justice for their loved ones. In fact, we would welcome other initiatives that would provide logistical and financial support to the families in pursuing cases in the courts so that social and economic status does not become an obstacle in seeking justice.
Katarungan reaffirms its commitment to educate and organize support from the U.S. public and lawmakers for victims of enforced or involuntary disappearances and other human rights violations.