By ADELA DEYAEN WAYAS
BAGUIO CITY — “Justice!” This was the call of the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines (NUJP) Baguio-Benguet Chapter as they join to commemorate the 1st year of the Ampatuan massacre, last November 23, Tuesday, at the Burnham Lake here.One year ago, a massacre in Sitio Masalay, Barangay Salman, Ampatuan, Maguindanao shocked the whole country and the international community when 57 victims were found dead on a hill,31 of whom were journalists, with the body of Reynaldo “Bebot” Momay still to be found.
The NUJP here lit 58 candles which they floated on the lake and offered prayers for the souls of the victims of the massacre.
The media group stressed that the Ampatuan massacre is a tragic reminder that the culture of impunity has long existed in our country. The group added that the bloodbath will not stop until government brings perpetrators to justice.
“Let the Ampatuan massacre serve as a lesson to the warlords and political kingpin. We will never allow the gruesome killings to happen again,” the NUJP statement further read.
After one year, perpetrators of the massacre have yet to be punished by the state while witnesses who have surface are being killed, involuntary disappeared or have been receiving death threats.
BCBC President BOMBO Jun Villanueva said “Sana naman ay mabigyan din ng pansin na maexpidite at pabilisin ang paglilitis para mabigyan ng hustisya ang ating mga kasama,” (I hope that the hearing process of the case be expedited so that the victims get the justice they deserve). He added that media practitioners today should be vigilant because of the “chicken-like killing” of journalists.
In his statement, Villanueva said that for every journalist being killed, a hundred will be born to continue serving and informing the people.
Perry Mendoza of the ACT-Cordillera said the situation of the employees and teachers in the country is very much the same as the situation of media people. He said the culture of impunity also endangers the lives of employees and teachers in the country.
“Tayo ay magpapatuloy na imulat ang mamamayan para labanan ang tumitinding paglabag sa ating demokratikong karapatan,” (We are going to continue to educate the people from injustices and other forms of violation of our democratic rights) Mendoza added.
While demanding that the past administration of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo be held accountable for various hideous crimes and injustices done against the people, the local CEGP chapter is now challenging the present administration to pursue justice along his “daang matuwid”. They claim that without justice PNoy’s promise of good governance through his “daang matuwid” will never happen.
CEGP also condemned PNoy’s silence on the massacre. “If PNoy is consistent in pursuing its daang matuwid, then he should have been more active in pursuing those responsible for the extrajudicial killings and other human rights violations,” the campus journalist’s group added.
The various sectors and the organizations here condemn the slow process and little progress in the Ampatuan massacre since the past administration and even after five months of PNoy in the presidential seat.
Different sectors in the city also joined and supported the call for justice for the victims of the Ampatuan massacre. Members of the Baguio Correspondents and Broadcasters Club (BCBC), National Union of Peoples Lawyers (NUPL), Innabuyog Gabriela, College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) Baguio-Benguet Chapter, Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Cordillera and ACT Teachers Partylist, students and other media practitioners were at the commemorative activity. # nordis.net