Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Deafening Silence

Last week, I attended a forum lobbying for the signing of the Convention on the Enforced Disappearances. I saw a poster in Malcolm advertising the event and the it was supposed to be the launching of a documentary entitled Unsilenced by Mr. King Marc Baco. I was amazed because King was may dormmate in Molave and back then, he was already into filming short films which was the beginning of a tradition in the dorm. Anyway, to show my unwavering support, I promised him that I would attend the event. Little did I know that the issue about enforced disappearances was closer to home than I originally thought. The documentary featured six workers of PICOP who were randomly picked up by agents of the state and summarily executed without any semblance of due process. However, no trace of their whereabouts can be found. The documentary also depicted the grief and anguish felt by the family members who just wanted to see the corpses their loved ones so that they can bury them properly.

The case of enforced disappearances is a different animal altogether from the usual crimes punished by the Revised Penal Code since there's an element of the unknown. The family members will have to deal with the uncertainty of the plight of the desaparecidos. There will never be any closure on their part and thus prolonging their agony. According to a human rights lawyer who delivered a speech during the forum, humans are usually born, they live, and then they die but they don't just disappear from the face of the earth. To add insult to the injury, the agents of the state even deny the existence of the person. There is therefore a need to define this crime in order to address the lacuna in the law.

Now, how did this experience impact my present disposition? It strengthened my resolve to continue running this race and finish it so that I'll be able to help these people in a more concrete way. For now, all I can do is to heed their advocacy and participate in their awareness campaign by drafting a Senate resolution urging the President to sign and ratify the Convention on Enforced Disappearances. One baby step at a time and we'll eventually put an end to this deafening silence.

Here's the documentary.

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