Forced abductions and disapperances were a staple of the Marcos dictatorship. These disappearances continue under the Arroyo government, a staunch ally of the Bush administration’s War Against Terror.
Today, April 12, marks that first year anniversary of the abduction of Maria Luisa Posa-Dominado, a former political detainee under the Marcos government. Luisa is the spokesperson for a human rights group and a critic of military and government abuses in her province of Panay. Witnesses say that Luisa, along with human rights workers Nilo Arado and Jose Ely Garachico, were abducted by heavily armed men. Jose Ely was shot and left for dead,survived their ordeal. Nilo, like Luisa, remains missing.
Luisa’s children cling to the hope that their mother is still alive. In an interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Luisa’s daughter May Wan confesses that, “The burden gets heavier and heavier as the days go by.”
Luisa’s abduction is part of a larger pattern of disapperances since Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo took office in 2001. The human rights group Karapatan has documented at least 178 forced disappearances have taken place from 2001 to 2007. The long list includes:
Lourdes Rubrico, 62, an urban poor activist in Cavite
Josephine Nogoy, 32, a human rights worker in Tarlac
Felicidad Katalbas, 53, an NGO worker in Negros Occidental
In addition, there have been at least thirteen extra-judicial killings under the Arroyo regime, including the brutal shooting of Tita Mely Carvajal in Santa Rosa, Laguna.
In 2007, the Arroyo regime enacted the Human Security Act, its own version of the Patriot Act. In its bid to counter terrorist attacks and ensure “human security,” the new law contains, among others, provisions allowing detentions for indefinite periods.
As long as the Arroyo government in collusion with Bush’s Global War on Terror, the phrase “human security” will remain meaningless for May Wan Dominado, and the many other families whose loved ones remain desaparecidos.