30 August 2023

GABRIELA Philippines | ILPS Women Commission 7


MANILA, Philippines – On the International Day of the Disappeared, GABRIELA Philippines and the women’s committee of the International League of Peoples’ Struggles reiterate its demand for fascist regimes to surface all desaparecidos and stop the attacks on peoples’ just struggles for democratic rights.

In 2022, Philippines had the highest number of enforced disappearances in Southeast Asia. Under Duterte’s six-year term, at least 20 human rights defenders added to the total number of desaparecidos according to human rights group Karapatan. Among them were Elizabeth ‘Loi’ Magbanua and Ador Juat—labor organizers who were abducted by suspected state forces on May 3, 2022. Over a year later, their family and organizations continue to search for them and demand justice from the government. 

Meanwhile, in just the first year of the current Marcos-Duterte administration, Karapatan monitored eight more that went missing—including three women: Elgene Mungcal and Ma. Elena ‘Cha’ Pampoza from Central Luzon and Lyn Grace Martullinas from Negros Occidental. There is an alarming rate in the increase in cases of enforced disappearances under the new regime, along with a new trend of abductions and arbitrary detention—as in the cases of Cebu-based activists Dyan Gumanao and Armand Dayoha and IP rights advocate Steve Tauli. 

Globally, there is also a rapid rise in the number of desaparecidos. In May this year, the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (UN-WGEID) reviewed 11 cases from just February 10, 2023, plus 318 cases that included newly reported ones and updates on previously transmitted cases. Amnesty International similarly recorded growing number of cases of enforced disappearances and various rights violations in 156 countries in its 2022 annual report.

These attacks come amid mounting unrest and resistance of the toiling masses across the globe, due to the worsening socio-economic conditions brought about by four decades of neoliberalism and intensifying wars of aggression instigated by imperialist countries. This is further evidenced by the growing world military expenditure, which reached a record high of $2,240 billion in 2022, while the average spending on social and economic services vis-à-vis GDP (Gross Domestic Product) dropped rapidly in the last two years.

Enforced disappearance, illegal arrests, and other vicious forms of state-sponsored violence and rights violations against women and the people have long been used as a tool of terror by imperial powers like the US and its allied and puppet governments from all over the world to maintain their economic and political control over resource-rich countries, while leaving millions in dire poverty and displacement. It is high time that the US and the fascist regimes it supports be exposed as the true terrorists in our midst. 

The working-class women and peoples of the world must close ranks and struggle against our common enemies: our fascist states and their imperialist masters. We must take back our sovereignty and end the chain of exploitation and oppression that keep us bound to the powers-that-be. Let us link arms and struggle for liberation and social justice.




 [1] “Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances concludes its 130th session”. 12 May 2023. 

[2] “Amnesty International Report 2022/23: The state of the world’s human rights”. 27 March 2023. 

[3] “Trends in World Military Expenditures, 2022”. April 2023.,growth%20in%20spending%20in%202022. 

[4] “The Rise and fall of public social spending with the COVID-19 pandemic”. January 2023. 

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