THE FILIPINO DESAPARECIDOSTODAY, August 31, is the National Heroes Day for the Philippines. Yesterday was noless significant with the global observance of the International Day ofDesaparecidos. Bulatlat produced a video (Philippines: Remembering theDisappeared) for the rather morbid celebration in honor of the "more than 200Filipinos--mostly activists--[who] have disappeared" under the reign of the EDSA 2Illegitimate.(Philippines: Remembering the Disappeared from Bulatlat on Vimeo available athttp://forthephilippines.blogspot.com/2009/08/today-august-31-is-national-heroes-day.html ).The video presented some 40 or so "victims of the regime's brutal policy againstcritics, particularly the Left." The first human face of the contemporary Filipinodesaparecidos under the Gloria Arroyo regime is Honorio Ayroso who disappearedFebruary 2002 in Nueva Ecija. Not even the elderly seems spared, as evidenced bythe case of Patricio Abalos, who was 61 years old when he went missing in March2005 at Catbalogan, Samar.Even women count among the desaparecidos. A matured face belongs to Gloria Socowho, by newspaper accounts, was not even a member of any left-wing group althoughshe was a sister-in-law of a consultant of the National Democratic Front. Perhaps,most harrowing were the cases of Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan--promising younglasses from the University of the Philippines and who remain unaccounted for sincebeing abducted in Hagonoy, Bulacan last June 26, 2006.EDSA 2 Ironies for the Media & the LeftThe penultimately featured desaparecido is Jonas Burgos, whose disappearance canbe called an indirect case of press freedom irony, given that Burgos is no lessthe son of Joe Burgos, press freedom icon and founding publisher of the newspaperMalaya. It can be recalled that one of the ludicrous claims made back in January2001 was the supposed absence or "death of democracy" under former PresidentJoseph Estrada, who was actually too human-rights-conscious to disperse theirreverent mix of EDSA 2 conspirators and gullible mob.The traditional media organizations went practically all out in support of theswift ouster of the democratically elected Estrada and the installation of Arroyo.As things unfolded, it proved to be an unwise, nay, stupid "People Power" exercisethat gave birth to a government that turned out to be not only the most unpopularin Philippine history but one which, as the National Union of Journalists of thePhilippines puts it, stands to leave "a legacy of bloodshed and repression, itsacts of omission and commission nurturing the impunity with which the enemies ofpress freedom have operated."Beautiful but dreadfully poignant Tagalog poetry graced the presentation. TheBalagtasan-style ode to the missing stirs the patriotic and compassionate heart:Hinahanap-hanap ka sa payapang dagat,Sa bawa't kislot na aking maaninag;Pinaghahanap ka sa tilamsik ng alat,Sa bula, sa kislap ng bawat lagaslas.Maging ang buhangin ay pinagtanungan,Saan aabot ang dalampasigan?