ArchivesNovember 2010Locals remember Ampatuan Massacre

Locals remember Ampatuan Massacre


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Dumaguete journalists and journalism students, majority of them wearing black shirts, lit candles and sang songs of remembrance for the 58 victims of the Ampatuan Massacre at the Ninoy Aquino Freedom Park Monday evening.{{more}}

The event here, spearheaded by the Dumaguete chapters of the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines (NUJP) and the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas (KBP), was held to comemorate the first anniversary of the gruesome incident that happened at Datu Sinsuat Ampatuan town in Maguindanao province on Nov. 23 last year.

The local commemoration comes in the heels of Presidential Proclamation No. 73 issued Monday, declaring Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2010, as a National Day in Remembrance for the Victims in the Maguindanao Massacre.

The proclamation noted, among other things, that it is “appropriate for the nation to pause and reflect on one year having passed since the massacre horrified the Filipino people and the world, and that justice must be served on the perpetrators;”

President Benigno S. Aquino III, in making the proclamation, called on the Filipino people “to solemnly bear the departed in their thoughts, and for all citizens from all walks of life, in solidarity, to the quest for justice for the victims.”

In Dumaguete, media practitioners from the NUJP-Dumaguete, KBP-Negros Oriental, the Dumaguete Press Club and freelance photographers, peacefully gathered along with journalism students to push for a swift trial and speedy resolution of the criminal cases filed against the perpetrators in the Ampatuan Massacre.

“We are holding this event to show our sympathy for the relatives of the massacre victims and to express our grief over the tragic incident,” said NUJP-Dumaguete Chapter chairman Alex Pal.

The Philippines, Pal said, is considered one of the most dangerous countries in the world for the journalism profession. “It doesn’t have to be that way if people develop more respect for the profession and for journalists,” he added.

Along this line, the NUJP Dumaguete and the KBP read a manifesto calling on media outfits to exercise self-regulation and to police its own ranks.

Journalism students from Silliman University, Foundation University, Negros Oriental State University, and St. Paul University, along with freelance photographers, also signed the manifesto to show their support.

The manifesto also reiterated the commitment of journalists to professionalize its ranks. “The power of the pen,” he said, “should not be abused or used for the journalist’s own benefit.”

Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police will be conducting a half-day seminar Tuesday afternoon for Dumaguete media practitioners on personal safety measures.

The activity, to be held at the Negros Oriental PNP provincial office at Camp Fernandez, Sibulan town, about 15 minutes north of here, is very timely in line with the nationwide commemoration of the Ampatuan massacre where more than 30 journalists were killed in one single incident.

The safety seminar for journalists is being spearheaded by the Directorate for Police Community Relations at Camp Crame, Quezon City and in collaboration with the Negros Oriental PNP office, headed by provincial police director Sr. Supt. Rey Lyndon Lawas. (PNA) JFP

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