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Letter From My Child

The Philippines: Living with the Disappeared

Discover the story of two boys who lose their parents because of political activism.

Last Modified: 01 May 2013 09:19
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Director: Tessa Boerman

The Philippines is a country that is marked by extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and a climate of impunity.

Following the election of President Benigno Aquino last May, the country hopes for a better human rights situation in the future.

"My father has done many things for the country. Sometimes I find it a bit annoying because I can't, I'm not sure whether I can live up to what my father has done.

I could take up activism although I think I'll decide just to focus on my studies first, maybe activism is for later years of college, but not now, not the first year. "

Layad, son of an activist

Nevertheless, the election campaign has been one of the most violent ones in the Philippines' history. In November 2012, almost 60 people were killed in the so-called Ampatuan Massacre, and among these political killings was a group of 34 journalists.

Layad is a 15-year-old boy, whose politically active father was abducted by armed men eight years ago. 

Speaking of his father, Layad recalls: "My dad is, was a peasant organiser, so he died for it. When the military got him he surrendered. And my dad said: 'just arrest me, just torture me or anyway but just don't kill me'.

"They shot him in the head. There were 16 gunshots; I think ... 16 to 22 gunshots. My mum was the one who fetched his body, in the province. But we got his body, one week or two weeks after he died because the military didn't leave a mark on his grave. They just put him in a sack. Can you imagine, a six-foot man stuck in a sack ... just a small rice sack, so he was crushed."

We also follow the story of A.L, a talented 14-year-old ballet dancer, who reaches out to his mother, who is detained because of her activism.

This episode delves into the lives of two youngsters whose lives are affected because of the human rights’ activities of their parents.

This episode of Letter From my Child can be seen from Tuesday, April 30 at the following times GMT: Tuesday: 2230; Wednesday: 0930; Thursday: 0330; Friday: 1630; Saturday: 2230; Sunday: 0930; Monday: 0330; Tuesday: 1630.


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Source:
Al Jazeera
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