Progressive Groups to Aquino: ‘Walk the Talk!’ (PR)

November 22, 2010

In commemoration of the first anniversary of Maguindanao Massacre, Bayan-NCR tells PNoy, ‘Walk the talk!’ Militants disappointed over Aquino’s tolerance of paramilitary groups; Mere remembering the massacre will never be enough.

This has been the statement of the militant umbrella organization, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-National Capital Region (Bayan-NCR) today after the Palace marked November 23 as the ‘National Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Maguindanao Massacre. The group said that tributes and commemorations will mean nothing if justice for the 58 victims of the gruesome killings of journalists and civilians in Maguindanao will keep on being distant and elusive.

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Bayan-NCR stresses that sincerity of the administration of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III towards journalists and victims of the massacre remains questionable. They insisted that PNoy is clearly missing-out core issues on how can his government deliver justice to the relatives and friends of the massacre victims.

According to them, PNoy must look into the centuries-old issues of warlordism and the continuing existence of the culture of violence and impunity in the land that caused killings of Magundadatu supporters and members of the fourth estate a year ago. Bayan-NCR also blamed warlords, big political clans and even the State for traditionally breeding private armies, civilian volunteer organizations (CVO) and the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Units (CAFGU), who had been said initiators of the killings.

‘Rather grandstanding to the public of his not-so significant measures over the Maguindanao Massacre case, PNoy must walk his talk now,’ says Andrew Zarate, NCR spokesperson of Bayan.

Zarate added, ‘To be able to do so, he (PNoy) must start cleaning his own backyard by dismantling paramilitary groups who were proven main adversaries of the people in the province in the soonest possible time. The continuing inaction of the government over private armies, CVO’s and CAFGU’s is a grave insult to the victims and to the Filipino people’s crusade for justice.’

Amnesty International earlier said that during the Aquino admin, private armies had sudden increase from 68 last December to 117 this February. Bayan-NCR commemorated the first anniversary of the Maguindanao Massacre today with various media organizations and artist groups as the National Press Club (NPC), Alyansa ng Filipinong Mamamahayag, (AFIMA), Kilometer 64 Poetry Collective, Sining Bugkos and Tudla Productions.

Highlights of the events calling for justice and ending to impunity were rally, mass, candle lighting, mock trial of journalists against the Ampatuans, burning of the 9-foot ‘Ampatuan Backhoe’ effigy and an acoustic and poetry night, dubbed as ‘UNREST.’

‘While we hope for speedy resolution of the Maguindanao Massacre, we just wonder how PNoy can truly serve justice to the victims while it further increases military spending, extra-judicial killings continue in his administration and while it just continued programs of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for military,’ Zarate ended.

Andrew Zarate, BAYAN-NCR spokesperson

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