The pain of the forced disappearance of her parents is still fresh but she manages to be strong for her brother. This Christmas will be a sad and hard one for Malaya Intise and her brother Bayan, but she still has hope that she will find their parents soon.
BY ZOFIA LEAL
The pain of the forced disappearance of her parents is still fresh but she manages to be strong for her brother. This Christmas will be a sad and hard one for Malaya and her brother Bayan, but she still has hope that she will find their parents soon.
Nelly and Federico Intise, the parents of Malaya Intise, have been missing since Oct. 26, together with Gloria Cañaveral. They were last seen at Puting Bato, Brgy. Calumpan, General Santos City.
Malaya narrates that during the 1980s, her parents had already been detained and tortured together with Bayan, who was three years old at that time. Bayan served as the eyes of their mother during their detention in a safe house. Bayan narrated to Malaya how he too was beaten and kicked – an experience he now remembers more vividly due to the disappearance of their parents.
Nelly is a non-government organization (NGO) worker while Federico is a farmer. Last Oct. 19, Nelly visited her husband at the farm. On Oct. 24, Nelly texted Malaya that she would be home by Oct. 26. However, days passed and Nelly was not able to come home, causing Malaya to worry.
Malaya was informed about the disappearance of their parents last Nov. 11, 15 days after the abduction. Their initial reaction was disbelief because they knew no reason their parents would be abducted. It was only then that they found out that their father is a staff member of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). They immediately suspected the military to be behind their parents’ disappearance.
The nature of work or political background of her father notwithstanding, Malaya could still not understand why the military had to take their parents. She noted that forced disappearances have really become a trend since Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo became president.
Malaya hopes the government will give due process even though her father is an NDFP staff member. The military can file a case against her father if they want to and that the forced disappearance is unjustifiable, she said.
Malaya and other friends and family members have already filed their case at the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) and Philippine National Police at General Santos City but the results are always negative, she said. They filed a blotter at the police precinct that has jurisdiction over Putting Bato and they have even asked around the place, but still they do not have any clue as to where their parents are.
Malaya is concerned about her brother, Bayan, because he has not shown any sign of anger or sadness. While Malaya cries constantly and even shouts, Bayan has remained quiet and turned to painting to possibly release his anger. He often paints pictures of their mother’s favorite flower.
This Dec. 10 will be the 22nd birthday of her brother. She constantly texts her brother to check on him and his whereabouts. She also fears that her brother might be abducted too and she cannot bear the thought of anything happening to him.
Life for them goes on though, however painful or hard it is for them. Bayan still goes to school while Malaya is now in Manila to pursue a lead that their parents are there.
In Manila, she got to know people like her with loved ones believed to have been abducted by the military. She often wonders what is worse, to lose a parent or to lose a child. In their case, both their parents are missing. Malaya copes by thinking that at least, their parents are together.
Malaya narrated how her mother had no stable job but was nonetheless able to send her and her brother to school by catering and cleaning offices. Bayan even had to stop schooling for a while because their parents’ income could not send them both to school at the same time. Their parents raised them well, she says, and they grew up in a simple lifestyle.
Malaya has worked for a local NGO in Davao since graduating from college, and has been able to help in addressing their family’s financial concerns Recently, she was working at another NGO in Cotabato City, and this was when she received news of her parents’ disappearance.
Federico has malaria and just this September, Nelly was diagnosed as having heart problems. Her parents’ ailments cause Malaya to worry more.
Right now, she really just wants to see her parents. She always thinks of where they are and how they are doing.
She remembers her parents as never having had any fights. Although her parents may have had misunderstandings at time, her father would just remain smiling. Malaya and her brother never feared that their parents would separate because they know how much their parents love each other. At times they would see their parents exchanging “love taka” (“I love you” in Visayan) text messages.
Federico farms at Alabel, which is three hours away from Davao. Even though their parents are away from each other, Malaya and Bayan are secure that their parents’ commitment to each other is strong.
Myra Gazo Macla, Nelly’s best friend, remembers her as a jolly person. She is considered as the life of the group and that she does not want anyone sad, Myra said.
Myra and Nelly met through Selda (Society of Ex-Detainees for Liberation against Detention and for Amnesty). Since then, they have been the best of friends. Myra was the first person that Malaya contacted since they heard news of the disappearance of their parents. Myra is accompanying Malaya in Manila.
Nelly is like a sister to her and whenever there are family gatherings, Nelly would always be invited, Myra said.
As a source of strength, Malaya turns to prayer and to the support of her parents’ friends and co-workers.
When she was still in school, Malaya volunteered at a youth camp that helps out-of-school youth. Their youth camp was raided by the military and they were accused of being New People’s Army (NPA) members. They filed a case against the police but later found out that the head of the team that raided their camp had already gone to Manila to supposedly take his master’s degree.
Malaya has no doubts that their parents were abducted by the military. She just hopes that it wouldn’t take them long to release their parents. So far, every detachment or office that they have turned to had told them that their case would be investigated.
Right now, Malaya just wishes that the military will release her parents or even just give them information as to how their parents are. As for Myra, she wants to see her friends –whether they are still alive or already dead. (Bulatlat.com)