KASAMA Vol. 17 No. 3 / July-August-September 2003 / Solidarity Philippines Australia Network

Peace Advocates for Truth & Healing

PATH or Peace Advocates for Truth and Healing had its first General Assembly on 29th August 2003 in Manila.

PATH is a newly formed human rights group based in the Philippines organized around the so-called 'anti-infiltration purges' undertaken by the CPP-NPA in the 1980s. We count among our network the survivors, families, and friends of victims of the internal purges, various peace and human rights NGOs in the Philippines, and other concerned individuals who believe that crimes against humanity committed by the armed left deserve as much attention as human rights violations by the State.

We intend to undertake a series of activities that would bring clarity to the mysteries surrounding these purges, as well as provide support to direct and indirect victims towards giving proper closure and building a culture of peace. We hope to complement the rich and sustained human rights work in the Philippines and promote the notion of human rights universality by looking into atrocities that have been ignored for the most part and for a long time now.


Our initial formative gatherings were well attended by individuals who came from the human rights community, such as Amnesty International Philippines, Balay, Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance (FIND), Coalition for Peace, and GZO Peace Institute; the academe - UP Center for Investigative and Development Studies and the UP History Department; media - Business World, Philippine Daily Inquirer, etc.; and other development NGOs - Popular Education for People's Empowerment, Institute for Popular Democracy, Policy Review and Editorial Services, etc.). Many of these constituted the core of PATH and are committed to build it as a distinct human rights organization in the Philippines.

PATH recognizes the fact that the State and its military machinery were responsible for most human rights violations in the Philippines, especially during Martial Law but also in the subsequent administrations. Many human rights groups were organized around them. It is undeniable, however, that 'non-State actors- committed acts of atrocity as well, in this case by the CPP-NPA.

These bloody anti-infiltration purges, which happened in the 1980s, include: Oplan Kadena de Amor in Southern Tagalog (1980), Kampanyang Ahos in Mindanao (1985-86), Oplan Missing Link in Southern Tagalog (1988), the nationwide campaign Olympia (1988-89), and many others yet unreported. In these purges, thousands of revolutionaries were detained, tortured and killed.

We believe that many tasks need to be done in order to address and put a proper closure to this tragedy. We realize that the most immediate tasks are to find the remains of those who were killed, to properly inform their families, and to provide them a decent burial.

Beyond this, PATH intends to undertake other tasks, such as:

1. Make a full accounting. 600 to 900 were said to have died during the Kampanyang Ahos. Sixty-six were killed during OPML (Oplan Missing Link) and fifty-five survived. We do not have the figures yet for Olympia, nor the Kadena de Amor, nor in the purge that happened in Cagayan, and other unreported cases in various provinces of the country. PATH recognizes the need to identify all individual victims and honor them as individual heroes.

2. Push for an objective, impartial investigation. The purges involved death, torture, and illegal detention. It is imperative that these be investigated, no matter how much time has lapsed. We believe that justice will only be served if accountabilities are established.

3. Undertake a process of healing. The deep traumas caused by this carnage left superficial scars, while deeper wounds remain unhealed. We at PATH believe that the wounds may need to be reopened if they are to heal properly. Therapy requires truth, healing requires unburdening.

We hope that through these efforts, we could ultimately pave the way for the creation of a Philippine Truth Commission. We envisage this to be an independent body that would look into all human rights violations committed in the country in its recent history perpetuated by all political players - whether by the State or armed groups. Furthermore, we seek a redefinition of the role of the left in Philippine society, informed by a deliberate process of self reflection, examination and critique towards deeper respect for human rights and appreciation of the ideals of democracy.

On the May 10, 2003 anniversary of the betrayal and death of the great Filipino hero Andres Bonifacio, the survivors, families, and friends of victims of the CPP-NPA internal purges gathered in Freedom Park at the University of the Philippines. A thousand candles were lit, trees planted and a memorial stone and plaque unveiled with these words:

'Paggunita sa mga buhay na walang-katarungang pinagmalupitan at sinawi ng mga kampanyang anti-impiltrasyon sa loob ng Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas noong dekada otsenta (1982-89), Oplan Kadena de Amor, Kampanyang Ahos, Oplan Missing Link, Operasyon Olympia, Operasyon Takipsilim, atbp. sa mga pinaghinalaang ahenteng militar; upang sila'y hindi malimutan at ang mga karahasang yaon ay kapulutan ng aral sa pagtataguyod ng dignidad at karapatang pantao, at upang hindi na maulit pa sa ngalan ng rebolusyon o panlipunang pagbabago. 'Mayo 10, 2003, sa buwang paggunita sa araw ng kamatayan ni Andres Bonifacio sa kamay din ng mga kasamahan noon 1897.'

[In remembrance of those who were brutally tortured and killed during the anti-infiltration campaign within the Communist Party of the Philippines during the 1980's (1982-89), Oplan Kadena de Amor, Kampanyang Ahos, Oplan Missing Link, Operasyon Olympia, Operasyon Takipsilim, and others, for being suspected of being military agents; so they will not be forgotten and lessons on the defense of human dignity and rights may be drawn from their suffering, and to ensure such events are never again carried under the name of revolution or social change. 'May 10, 2003, on the anniversary of the death of Andres Bonifacio at the hands of his peers in 1897.']

Peace Advocates for Truth and Healing (PATH)

#45 Matimtiman Street, Teachers Village, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines.
Tel no: 921 8049 Fax no: 926 2893

Chairperson - Bobby Garcia
Secretary General - Daisy Valerio

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