Posts Tagged ‘Mary Aileen Bacalso’

Profile of Father Rosaleo Romano who disappeared 30 years ago in the Philippines

August 6, 2017

Human rights defender Mary Aileen Bacalso in the Philippines published a blog post in La Croix International of 3 August 2017 entitled “The imperative of more shepherds for the Lord’s flock“. It describes the case of  Redemptorist Father Rosaleo Romano who disappeared 3 decades ago and makes the point that pastors like him are now needed more than ever.
Victims of enforced disappearances in the Philippines, including Redemptorist Father Rosaleo Romano, are remembered during a memorial in Manila. (Photo by Rob Reyes)

The Philippine human rights community has not forgotten Father Rosaleo Romano more than three decades after his disappearance during the dark years of the dictatorship. A “man of the cloth”, Father Romano, “Rudy” to his friends, one of the staunchest human rights defenders during those years, was forcibly made to disappear by the military…Father Rudy did not live his spirituality in the confines of convent walls. He meaningfully lived it out through his apostolate with poor farmers, with striking factory workers, with the poor whose shanties were demolished in the name of development, and with students struggling for academic freedom. The priests consequently suffered persecution during that most obscure time of the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos.

In his white cassock, Father Rudy would confront soldiers with their batons and shields. He would link arms with protesters, and suffered arrest and stayed behind the bars of prisons several times. The persecutions did not cow him from following the footsteps of the “Most Holy Redeemer”. It strengthened his resolve to fully embrace the consequences of his actions. “If I die, you will know who killed me,” he told his parents from the province of Samar. He paid the price for concretizing the church’s teaching of preferential option for the poor. He became, and remains to be, one of the more than 2,000 documented cases of disappearances during the Marcos years. The disappearance of the Redemptorist priest brought thousands of people in the central Philippine province of Cebu out in the streets during those years. The perpetrators’ act of cowardice of abducting a committed pastor resulted in an outrage not only among the organized masses in the country but even among international solidarity groups.

More than three decades have passed. There is no trace of Father Rudy’s whereabouts. In a country battered by burning human rights issues, and with the silence of Filipinos who continue to place their trust in a president who openly attacked human rights defenders, the Catholic Church in the Philippines needs to relive the example of Father Rudy. It is sad that there seems to be a dearth of people with the Redemptorist’s zeal and commitment these days. Have we given justice to Father Rudy’s very ideals that earned for him the status of one of the most well-known desaparecidos during the Marcos era? Have his sacrifices in opting for the poor, the deprived, and the oppressed borne fruits for freedom and democracy? Has his exemplary life multiplied a hundredfold through the proliferation of people who are following his footsteps?

Father Rudy’s name is carved on the “Flame of Courage” built by the Redemptorist congregation in Manila in 1994. With hundreds of names of Filipino desaparecidos, the monument of a mother holding a torch and a child holding a picture of his disappeared father manifests the never-ending hope against hope that one day, the long-awaited reunification of families will be realized.

The dream of a “new heaven and a new earth” is far from being realized in this predominantly Catholic country where the teachings of love and justice are blatantly ignored. The “people of God” need, more than ever, pastors who are willing to offer their lives so that others may live.

[Mary Aileen Bacalso is secretary-general of the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances. https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2013/12/23/filippines-hrd-wins-emilio-mignone-award-for-work-against-enforced-disappearances/]

Source: The imperative of more shepherds for the Lord’s flock – La Croix International

Filippines HRD wins Emilio Mignone award for work against enforced disappearances

December 23, 2013

(Mary Aileen Bacalso receiving the Award in Argentina from foreign Minister Hector Timerman)

Human rights defender Mary Aileen Bacalso from the Philippines received the Emilio F. Mignone International Human Rights Award in Argentina Tuesday last week for her advocacy work in her capacity as the secretary-general of the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD). Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman presided over the ceremony, which was conducted at the Argentine Foreign Ministry. It was attended also by representatives from Argentine human rights organizations, and the family of human rights defender Emilio Mignone, after whom the award was named. [Mignone’s daughter Monica disappeared during the Argentine dictatorship]

Bacalso’s own husband was abducted by seven armed men in 1988.  He was released after being tortured and made to admit to the accusations, said Bacalso in a phone interview with InterAksyon.com. In 1998, she co-founded AFAD with two other organizations in India and Sri Lanka as a response to the problem of enforced disappearances in many parts of Asia. In Sri Lanka alone, there were 60,000 cases at the time, according to the AFAD website. From the beginning, they took pointers from and coordinated with human rights groups in Latin America which were formed in the 1980s to take action on enforced disappearances. AFAD now has 11 member-organizations from eight countries, with the main office based in the Philippines. They disseminate information, campaign for the ratification of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, research and document cases, and accompany families of victims of enforced disappearances.

Aside from bringing them recognition, Bacalso said she hoped the award would also give them credibility as they try to convince governments in Asia and in the rest of the world to stop enforced disappearances.

In her acceptance speech, she recalled the adversity faced by those who fought for the rights of the victims of enforced disappearances. “AFAD’s own former Chairperson from Indonesia, Munir, who worked tirelessly for the cause of the disappeared, was poisoned by a lethal dose of arsenic in a flight from Jakarta to Amsterdam via Singapore.” “Our colleagues in Kashmir are persecuted in more ways than one, including non-issuance of passports to restrict their movement and block them from forging solidarity with sister organizations in other countries. “Our leaders in Bangladesh were recently arrested, their office raided and files and pieces of equipment stolen in a desperate attempt to silence them. “In Laos, almost a year ago, development worker Sombath Somphone was taken by the police in broad daylight as evidenced from the CCTV camera footage, yet despite the obvious proof, the Laos government denies knowledge of the victim’s whereabouts. His wife has gone from pillar to post and has knocked on doors of national and international bodies yet her husband is nowhere to be found.” “In the Asian region with a huge number of cases and where defenders face the danger of being disappeared themselves, this award, representing the support of the Argentinian government, is a strong protection to our work in our region,” Bacalso said.

for more information on the Mignone award go to the Digest of awards on: www.trueheroesfilms.org 

 

 

Filipina wins internationa™l rights award for advocacy against enforced disappearances – InterAksyon.com.