PATH

Peace Advocates For Truth, Healing & Justice

What is PATH?
Peace Advocates for Truth, Healing & Justice (PATH) was formally organized in 2002, pioneering in its focus on human rights violations by a non-state armed group. Composed of torture survivors, families, relatives and friends of victims missing or executed during the anti-infiltration campaigns within the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) in the 1980s, PATH seeks truth and justice from the CPP-NPA and other Left blocs involved in the anti-infiltration campaigns. PATH believes that all non-state armed groups, including those not from the Left movement, should observe human rights in the conduct of their resistance against the State. Ultimately, PATH holds the State accountable as well for the purges, and for military atrocities during martial law and throughout successive administrations.
Goals & Objectives
PATH's goals and objectives are as follows:
  • 1. Complete the documents of the cases of all victims during the purges and all those involved.
  • 2. Organize a national community of human rights defenders and advocates composed of survivors, families, relatives and friends of victims during the purges.
  • 3. Facilitate the healing of survivors as well as the families, relatives and friends of purge victims.
  • 4. Conduct exhumations so that victims are given due respect and proper burial.
  • 5. Conduct a comprehensive advocacy work. Its main components will be public information and campaign, solidarity-building and lobbying at the local, national and international levels.
  • 6. Deepen and popularize the culture of human rights through artistic and popular education, productions and other cultural endeavors.
  • 7. Come up with case studies of country experiences on the setting up of Truth and Justice Commissions and strive for the creation of a Truth and Justice Commission in the country together with other human rights organizations and individual human rights advocates.
  • 7 Committees
  • Research & Documentation. Documents stories and produces a database of victims in aid of locating burial sites; conducts research to surface facts and circumstances of the purges; publishes materials as tools for justice campaigns; ensures confidentiality and security of records and files.
  • Recovery of Victims' Remains. In cooperation with the victims' kin, locates gravesites, retrieves the remains and arranges their proper burial; mobilizes the services of forensic experts and other professionals; initiates dialogues with the victims' families as well as with perpetrators.
  • Counseling & Therapy. Facilitates healing sessions that address the long-term trauma of surivivors and victims families; mobilizes professionals in the fields of psychology and psychiatry; builds support groups for victims and their families towards eventual closure.
  • Communications & Popular Education. Develops education programs, including theoretical materials and tools for reflection, that revolve around human rights and respect for human dignity; holds commemoration activities and builds memorials for the victims; develops external communications through publications and mass media.
  • Legal & Security. Leads in the initiation and pursuance of legal actions for victims; assist in the handling and protection of material evidence in coordination with the RVR Committee; conducts research on the possibilities of a Truth Commission; studies the implications of PATH's work on the peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the CPP-NPA-NDF; and ensures lines with established institutions that will help strengthen PATH;
  • Arts & Culture. Produces musical compositions, literary works, plays, video documentaries, films, and other cultural works from the stories of survivors and victims.
  • Organizing & Advocacy. Reaches out to survivors and victims' families in different regions and encourages solidarity in their journey towards justice and healing.
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    Monday, October 02, 2006
    Past revisited
    I saw ABS-CBNs Probe Team feature last Sept. 20, 2006 on the successful exhumation in Sitio Amaga, Barangay Bonbon, Cebu City of the bodies of suspected deep penetration agents (DPAs) killed in a purge inthe middle 80s. It was the second digging after the bodies of Jess and Nida Libre and Ben Valmoria were recovered in Sitio Bocaue, Barangay Pamutan also in Cebu City last Nov. 4, 2005.

    Those dug were among what the Peace Advocates for Truth, Justice and Healing (PATH) is calling the "Cebu 13″ victims of the anti-infiltration campaign of the underground movement some two decades ago. Like in the first exhumation, relatives of those dug up were there to get back the bodies of their loved ones.

    Watching the coverage, including the footages of the first and second diggings and Probe Teams "reenactment,” conjured ambivalent feelings in me. Even if I am a media person, my view has always been to keep media people away. Those involved in that sorry episode in the revolutionary movements history are better off making the closure without the glare of the cameras.

    My point is that it would be difficult to put in its proper context a one to two minutes report on a very complicated issue. Either the anguish suffered by the victims will be downplayed or the actions of the abuser magnified–which is unfair to both sides. I know, and felt, the situation prevailing at the time of the purges in Cebu, and I could not help but be understanding of the actuation of the victims and the victimizers.

    I squirmed watching Probe Teams reenactment, for example, because it really wasnt like that, at least with regards to the Cebu experience. Some of Prof. Jerome Bailens initial findings also were not right on target. I agree, however, that the report failed to depict fully the pain that the victims felt.

    Anyway, I dont know the exact place where the bodies supposedly of Luz and Herculano Laguna were buried, but I know Sitio Amaga in Barangay Bonbon, Cebu City. When I set foot there for the first time in 1981, I was a clueless cadre quarantined in a hut waiting for deployment. I cried after a few days of being left alone with cooked banana for food.

    The area would later become the base of the propaganda staff that I headed, and was the scene of many of my triumphs and failures, of my ups and downs as a peasant organizer. I havent been there in, I think, two decades. But I really want to go there if given the chance: to reminisce and dig up more lessons from that youthful rebellion.

    I have heard stories about how the suspected DPAs (they were called zombies) were interrogated and killed in that area, but its difficult to recall them now because of the years that I tried to suppress the memories of that episode in my life. I think its enough that some of the bones have been returned to their relatives, and for that I doff my hat to the PATH members for their effort to locate the burial sites as well as the relatives.

    An interesting sidelight, at least for me, in that Probe Team report was the showing of the face of a familiar face from Mandaue. I could not recall her name but I lived for a few days in their house, which was in a community not far from City Hall. Since they didnt have a toilet, I ended up doing my thing at the still vacant Mandaue reclamation area.

    I always had difficulty adjusting to the life in the city that was why I stuck it out in the countryside for years, until my arrest in 1987 and my re-arrest in 1988.

    Meanwhile, the story of Luz and Herculano, their son Herlo (who was killed by members of a fraterity in 2005) and their grandson Aaron Heaven will not be forgotten. If I have the time, I will be writing about their story, probably in fiction form, in the future.

    Candido O. Wenceslao

    September 27, 2006

    from ---> Click Me
    posted by PATH @ 10/02/2006 11:01:00 AM  
    1 Comments:
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    About Me

    Name: PATH
    Home: Quezon City, Philippines
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    Where to send your donations and order the book

  • Peace Advocates for Truth, Healing and Justice (PATH) 45 Matimtiman St., cor. Magiting St., Teachers' Village East Quezon City 1101, Philippines Tel. No: (632) 921-8049 Telefax: (632) 926-2893
  • You can also donate to PATH by clicking on the ads below
    The book about the CPP-NPA Purges
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  • "Bobby Garcia provides a riveting account of the Communist Party of the Philippines' "killing fields" and situates it within the context of a revolutionary movement that was nobly motivated but also tragically flawed. To Suffer Thy Comrades goes beyond Garcia's narrative of his and other survivors' harrowing experiences and explains why the purges took place, how both torturers and victims coped and made sense of their plight, and how they survived in the aftermath of the purge. The book sheds light on the darkest and deepest secrets of the revolutionary movement and provides insights that are useful now that the communists are negotiating peace with the government" - SHEILA CORONEL, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism
  • "...Bobby Garcia had the courage to write about the 'killing fields' despite some people's efforts to dissuade him. Bobby was one of its victims -- he was 21 when his entire future was nearly taken away from him -- who was lucky enough to survive. And who is even luckier to retain a huge sense of humor and equanimity, even when talking about his ordeal, at least with friends. His book is called "To Suffer Thy Comrades"...It is certainly not something that will set your mind at rest. But read it anyway. Its virtue is to be found in that biblical observation, 'The truth shall set you free.' - CONRADO DE QUIROS, Philippine Daily Inquirer
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