5th year of Ampatuan massacre | Public urged to light a candle for justice

Members of the End Impunity Alliance, AlterMidya, a national network of alternative media outfits and the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication will hold a protest march around the university’s academic oval on Nov. 21.


MANILA – Journalists, media watchdogs, rights advocates and members of the academe have lined up activities to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the Ampatuan massacre.

On Nov. 23, 2009, 58 individuals, including 32 journalists were brutally killed in Ampatuan town, Maguindanao province. Primary suspects belong to the powerful Ampatuan clan. The incident has been dubbed by international media watchdogs as the worst attack in the history of the press.

Five years after, justice remains elusive. According to the Freedom Fund for Filipino Journalists (FFFJ), 41 of the accused were granted bail. At least three witnesses have been killed. The prosecution is accused of accepting bribes.

Media groups call on the public not to forget. On Nov. 23, at 6 p.m., everyone is enjoined to gather at different sites and light a candle “to illuminate the darkness and banish injustice.”

In Manila, Filipino journalists and their colleagues from Southeast Asia will gather at the EDSA Shrine for the Million Candles campaign.

‘Deliver us from Impunity King’

Members of the End Impunity Alliance, AlterMidya, a national network of alternative media outfits and the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication will hold a protest march around the university’s academic oval on Nov. 21.

The groups said President Benigno Aquino III is responsible for perpetuating the culture of impunity in the country.

Benjie Oliveros, AlterMidya spokesman, said, “Without our vigilance, without the Filipino people showing that they are one with the relatives of the victims and media groups in demanding justice, nothing would come out of the case. The Ampatuan clan would just continue toying around with the courts and the Aquino government would continue playing patronage politics thereby strengthening political dynasties and warlords, who routinely kill anyone who goes against their interests.”

On Nov. 20, the UP Graduate Students Association, UP CMC Student Council and STAND-UP will stage a cultural night for justice at the UP CMC.

Other activities

The International Federation of Journalists and the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) will hold an international solidarity mission on Nov 20 to Nov 24 in General Santos and Manila.

Activities include a visit to the massacre site together with the families of the victims on Nov. 21, unveiling of an installation art revisiting the Ampatuan massacre on Nov. 23, 9 a.m. at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani.

The NUJP, in coordination with the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) and the Philippine Press Institute (PPI) also launched a public service ad campaign for TV and radio.

The IFJ-NUJP mission will be meeting with Justice Secretary Leila De Lima on Nov 22, 2 p.m. and with Col. Henry Libay, head of the Task Force Usig on Nov. 24, 10 a.m. at Camp Crame.

The NUJP said the commemoration activities intend to “look back and see how five years of corruption and apathy have conspired to thwart not only justice for the Ampatuan 58 but allowed the impunity with which journalists, farmers, indigenous people, religious and others whose only crime is to exercise their right to free expression, continue to be murdered.”

Meanwhile, the Photojournalists’ Center of the Philippines (PCP) called on publishers of newspapers to post black frames with the text: “No journalists. No photos.” (https://www.bulatlat.com)

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3 Comments - Write a Comment

  1. Where is Manny Pacquiao on these? Forget the President, he’s just a puppet. Manny can move this mountain of injustice on this event. This massacre echoed thought-out the civilized world. Very embarrassing to the Filipino culture if this single episode of history cannot give justice to the victims, let alone the Plaza Miranda bombing and the killing of Ninoy Aquino and most of the massacres and torture during the Marcos regime and in Hacienda Luisita….
    The whole country should revolt on these scar. Oh well they’re too busy with Eat Bulaga and a Karaoke.

  2. Thank you for posting this Bulatlat.com….. quite a thought provoking video.

  3. Finally someone have the courage to echo the injustice. This massacre represents the Filipino culture and will break its culture if justice is not served. This is the turning point of this country’s judicial history. This represents all the massacres that were ignore by the GMA, ABS, etc etc. here in the US. we call them presstitutes. Whore of the corporate medial.
    Why is alway from University of the Philippines? Where are the other knowledge seeking foundations such as Ateneo etc. Where are the Catholic church on these? Where are the other religion icon such Muslim or Iglesia ni Cristo about injustices done to their own kind?
    I remember when the Jews were persecuted during the Nazi regime:
    First they came for the communist .. I’m not a communist why should I care?
    Then they came for the Jews, … I’m not a Jew why should I care?
    Then they came for me…. then there’s no one else to care.

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