STATEMENT FROM THE
INTERFAITH GATHERING FOR TRUTH AND ACCOUNTABILITY ON THE ENFROCED
DISAPPEARANCE JAMES BALAO
James Balao, a founding member of the
Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) is missing since September 17.
His family, friends and colleagues have searched long-enough to
find him. The agony lingers, the emotion heightens.
James Balao is a victim of enforced disappearance,
which by definition is state perpetrated. This is based on his long
time involvement to the CPA, an organization branded as left-leaning
and critical to government. James is the first case of enforced
disappearance in the Cordillera. According to a national alliance
for human rights KARAPATAN, there are 199 cases of enforced disappearances
under the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo administration. The three recent
cases of enforced disappearances in the country happened in a span
of less than a week, 2 cases immediately preceded the disappearance
of James, in September 20 and 21. The victims are peasant organizers
We are outraged with the waves of enforced disappearances
in the country. This alarming reality directly undermines the sanctity
and integrity of life. The darkness gripping their victims and the
sufferings of their families and loved-ones could not be captured
by words. It is brutal with the victims frequently tortured and
in constant fear for their lives. Often, the captors of the enforcedly
disappeared (desaparacidos) never release them and their fate remains
unknown. This must stop!
We hold the present administration accountable for
the enforced disappearance of James Balao and to the many victims
of human rights violations in the country under an undeclared martial
law. Extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, political
harassments and persecutions that are widely happening under this
regime are glaring evidences of injustices. These acts must be condemned!
It is necessary for us to challenge the state and
all its instrumentalities to surface James Balao unconditionally
and immediately. We cannot be blind to gross violations of human
rights and turn deaf to the people's cry.
The Interfaith Gathering for Truth and Accountability
condemns in strongest terms the state perpetrated disappearance
of James Balao. We support the call of his family, friends and colleagues
for him to be surfaced immediately. We appeal to the public to be
one with us in a sustained effort to fight enforced disappearances
alongside with other forms of human rights violations. We demand
no less than justice!
Stop Enforced Disappearances! Surface James Balao
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because
he has anointed me.
To bring good news to the poor
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery
of sight to the blind
To let the oppressed go free. To proclaim the year of the Lord's
INTERFAITH GATHERING FOR TRUTH AND ACCOUNTABILITY
September 29, 2008