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.
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.
Kabataan Labing walong taong gulang si Joey nang pumasok sa kilusan. Batang kolehiyo, puno ng lakas, nag-uumapaw sa ideyalismo. Naghanap ng puwang; naghangad ng pagbabago. Sa murang gulang, pinili niyang ialay ang buong buhay at talino para sa tao. Para sa bayan. Sa ngalan ng rebolusyon. Sa ngalan ng digmaan.
Pagkilos at Pakikibaka Si Becca, matapos ang maagang pagkilos mula pa noong siyay nasa high school, ay nagpasyang mag-full time sa rebolusyonaryong kilusan at iwanan ang kolehiyo. Ang napangasawa niyang si Lance ay isang gerilya ng Bagong Hukbong Bayan. Pareho silang nanindigang marangal at dakila ang ipinaglalaban.
Bintang at Pagdududa. Dalawampung taon nang nakikibaka si Ka Teban. Ano't siya'y pinagbintangang kaaway ng kilusan? Ano't siya'y ikinadena't ikinulong ng sariling kasamahan? Ano't hinayaang bumaon ang tanikala sa kanyang balat at hinayaang magnaknak at mamaga ang mga kamay?
Matanda na si Ka Berting. Mahigit singkwenta anyos na. Inasahan bang tatagal ang kanyang katawan sa bagsik ng kulata ng riple at lupit ng kamao ng isang mandirigma? Nagpasalamat kaya siya nang inilibing siya ng buhay?
Hindi makakaila ang kapansanan ni Lina. Hindi siya makatayo nang tuwid, ilang ulit na siyang inoperahan sa likod. Anong uri ng kahayupan ang dumpao sa kasamang nagbitin sa kanya sa puno at nagpahid sa kanyang mukha ng dugo ng bagong kitil na bihag?
kabataan ang pag-asa ng bayan, ika ni Rizal. Nasa rurok ng kabataan si Joey, si Becka, at si Lance nang magsimulang maniwala sa kapangyarihan ng punglo. Nasa rurok ng kabataan nang matuklasang ang karahasa'y walang pinipili at wala ring sinasanto.
Dalawampung taong gulang si Ka Romy nang hatawin ng isang kasama ang kanyang batok at tarakan ng punyal ang kanyang dibdib. "Maglagom kayo, mga kasama!" Sigaw ng isa pa, habang pumupulandit ang dugo mula sa kanyang leeg.
Pagkalimot Dala-dala ang masakit na karanasan, maraming nakatuklas na ang pakikibaka pala ay tigmak ng tunggalian. Hindi lamang sa pagitan ng rebolusyon at reaksyon, kundi sa puso ng bawat isa. Ahh... di kaya mas mabuting kalimutan na lamang ang lahat?
Gayon nga ang naganap. Taon ang lumipas. Ang kahibanga'y ikinubli sa pinid na pinto ng ala-ala. Ang mga sugat ay pilit pinaghilom ng hilaw na pilat ng pagtatakip at pagtakwil. Subalit ang baho'y pilit na pilit na sisingaw; ang ugat ay magpupumilit na umusbong.
Katotohanan at Katarungan Humihiyaw ang mga inilibing. Humahagulgol ang kanilang labi Danga't kami'y inyong kaligtaan? Masdan ang mga pilat sa inyong binti, ang inyong balantukang kaluluwa. Wala na nga bang nakapagpapaalala? Taon ang binilang. Ang karanasa'y hindi na maikakaila. Ang katotohana'y hindi habambuhay na maibabaon. Magsalaysay. Magsumigaw. Magbuklod. Manindigan.
- Robert Francis Garcia (read by Rep. Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel in the concert "Unsung" a tribute to nameles heroes last Nov. 29, 2003)
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
"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