Family and friends of missing farmer-activist Jonas Burgos on Friday held a protest outside Camp Aguinaldo to call for justice and accountability for his disappearance.
"Ten years after the incident and we continue to seek justice and to call for the military to surface Jonas Burgos and all desaparecidos," said Karapatan deputy secretary general Jigs Clamor.
The protesters wore "Jonas Burgos" masks to remind the perpetrators of the crime they committed 10 years ago today.
“Let Jonas’ face be marked in their memories. Let it disturb them. After three regimes and a decade, let this be a testament that we continue to look for him, and demand justice for Jonas and all the military abducted and made to disappear,” said Concepcion Empeño, chairperson of Desaparecidos and mother of abducted student Karen Empeño.
Burgos, son of press freedom icon Jose Burgos, was abducted in a mall in Quezon City on April 28, 2007.
But Karapatan lamented that those implicated in Burgos' disappearance continue to enjoy high position in government.
“We are outraged that these perpetrators are given higher positions instead of being put to jail where they belong. Regimes give them medals and accolades, despite crimes against the Filipino people,” said Clamor.
The group singled out AFP Gen. Eduardo Año, one of the military officials linked to the disappearance of Burgos.
Año has been appointed chief of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine Army, 10th Infantry Division commander, and Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, despite his involvement in the disappearance of Burgos.
Despite the government's effort of enacting the Anti-Enforced Disappearance Law or RA 10353 in 2012, Karapatan said "no one has been made to account for such incidents."
Meanwhile, film activists, artists and photojournalists will gather on Saturday for a film screening exhibit to mark Burgos’ disappearance and likewise highlight the human rights situation in the country.
The event will feature six short films produced by alternative media groups at the Conspiracy Garden Café in Quezon City. It will also showcase artwork from the artists’ group Works in Progress (WIP) and photographs from the Surfacing Project, a group of photojournalists covering drug-related extrajudicial killings.
According to filmmaker JL Burgos, brother of Jonas: “We hope to distribute the Rights films as widely as possible to help the public see the complete picture of human rights and see their importance in the people’s daily lives.”
The #SalvagingRights was launched to build awareness on the importance of human rights. It is the fourth series of the Rights initiative launched in 2007, initiated by the Free Jonas Burgos Movement and the Southern Tagalog Exposure. The fourth compilation of Rights is organized by Film Weekly (Pinoy Media Center), AlterMidya- People’s Alternative Media Network, Southern Tagalog Exposure, and Artists' ARREST.