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After months of learning, shooting, editing, catching up with schedules and evading military surveillances, we are proud to announce that the Surfacing photo project is now available to the public through our website: www.projektdesap.org. The photos are the product of a 3-week long workshop and months of integrating with the families of those who disappeared involuntarily.
Enforced disappearance is â€œcommitted by government officials or by organized groups acting in behalf, or with the support, consent or acquiescence of the government,â€ according to the International Convention for the Protection of all Persons against Enforced Disappearance. It is among the most common human rights violations committed in the Philippines, often by suspected military agents in the name of counter-insurgency. Under the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, there have been 184 desaparecidos, the highest since martial law. One of the recent who disappeared was no other than the son of Philippine press freedom fighter Jose Burgos. He was reportedly taken by armed men in a crowded shopping mall earlier this year. He was a farmer, a teacher, and an activist at the same time.
This project was done through the help of photographers, activists, and ordinary citizens who are very much alarmed by the growing rate of enforced disappearances in the country and hopes to sustain public awareness on the issue.
The photos were first showed last December 5 at a mall cinema namely the Robinsonâ€™s Galleria in Manila and will have another public slide showing at the north MRT railway station on December 9. Then on the following day, an exhibit of large tarpaulin prints will be publicly displayed at the Plaza Miranda freedom park at the center of Manila.