Mother of ‘desaparecido’ speaks in European forums

Edith Burgos

Dr. Edith Burgos still hopes that justice can be brought to them, victims of human rights violations. (Photo courtesy by Global Ministries of the United Metodist Church/URL:

MANILA, Nov. 3, 2009─More than 900 days since her son had gone missing, mother of ‘desaparecido’Jonas Burgos talked about her experiences, and shared her hope to the world that she and other mothers of other ‘desaparacidos’ (enforcedly disappeared) will soon find justice.

Dr. Editha Burgos who chairs a human rights’ group Desaparecidos, an association of families, friends and sympathizers of the victims of the enforced disappearances, is currently on a European tour to talk about enforced disappearances in the country.

“I hope that I can help people realize what is happening to good people like my son and many, many others in the Philippines,” Burgos said in a statement, before she left for her European tour last October 27.

Jonas Burgos went missing on April 28, 2007. Abducted in broad daylight in a mall in Quezon City, Burgos’ family never saw him again.

Today, there are about 200 person went missing since the Macapagal-Arroyo launched its anti-Red campaign dubbed as “Operational Plan Bantay Laya” (OPLAN Bantay Laya or Operation Freedom Watch) in 2001.

Burgos spoke in a forum in Den Haag, “Stop disappearances in the Philippines!”, and shared her experiences as a mother and as a leader of an association seeking justice for their loved ones.

The said forum was held in Buurthuis Boerenplein, in Mandelaplein 1, and was co-sponsored by the International Committee against Disappearances, IBON Europe and the Filipino Refugees in the Netherlands (FREN).

She will also be one of the main speakers in the conference, “Abductions and Disappearances: Breaking the chain of impunity in the Philippines”, on November 4 in the International Institute of Social Studies in Den Haag.

The Netherlands-based human rights group, meanwhile, Rice and Rights network will co-sponsor a forum in Amsterdam on November 5 with Mrs. Burgos and Jonas’ brother JL Burgos as speakers.

Burgos’ European speaking tour has taken her to London in the UK, and in Cologne, Bonn and Berlin in Germany. Last October 29 she arrived in the Netherlands, before heading to Bologna and Milan in Italy. She proceeded to Belgium to round off her tour with meetings with some European parliamentarians and human rights groups in Brussels, Gent and Antwerp.

Harassments against Burgos family, not new

Human rights abuse against the Burgos family is not new. During the reign of the late dictator Mr. Ferdinand Edralin Marcos, Jose Burgos Jr., the publisher and editor of Malaya and the Ang Masa (The Masses), was also harassed by the government.

On 07 December 1982, the military raided the Malaya office, arrested Burgos and nine of his staff. The government accused Joe (Burgos’s nick name) of subversion.

After 25 years, the harassments are back again. On 28 April 2007, Jonas was abducted by alleged state forces in Ever Gotesco Mall in Commonwealth, Quezon City. He was off for a visit to his family after months of being away as an educator and trainer for farmers’ group in Bulacan, a province in the Central Philippines—the Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Bulacan (Alliance of Peasants in Bulacan or AMB).

There were some investigations but all went nil. He never surfaced neither was there an information where he can be found.

As part of the quest for searching for Jonas and helping other Desaparecidos, an alliance was formed—the Free Jonas Burgos Movement, which is also in the forefront in the fight for justice for all the victims of human rights’ violations and the so-called “terrorism” of the State. (