16 December 2009

Subic media condemn ‘monsters’ of Maguindanao massacre

Members of the Olongapo City-Subic Bay chapter of the Union of Journalists of the Philippines (UJP-OS) last week set lighted candles adrift on Subic Bay as a symbolic petition for justice for media colleagues slain in the infamous Maguindanao massacre last month.

Calling for an end to impunity and demanding immediate justice for the massacre victims, the UJP-OS said that media killings are a “direct assault on our democracy and way of life as peace-loving and law-abiding citizens.”

“As journalists fall prey to the dangers inherent in our profession, the freedoms that the public enjoy also became diminished and undermined,” said UJP-OS chairman Jun Dumaguing.

“The death of our colleagues in the media should now signal our call to arms against the reign of violence and impunity perpetrated by those who wield power without regard for the sanctity of human life,” Dumaguing said.

The UJP-OS, in a statement, also expressed outrage at the “monsters who perpetrated the Maguindanao massacre,” adding that the culprits must be brought to justice.

“We condemn with equal fury the government that has condoned the culture of guns, goons and gold in various areas of the country for political reasons,” it added.

The UJP-OS said the Maguindanao killings “could well be the biggest single massacre of journalists in the world, unparalleled in its brutality and ruthlessness, and unequalled in its brazen disregard for life and liberty.”

But while the local media “cringe in shame” for this episode, “make no mistake that the media will be cowed by wanton brutality and insane violence,” the UJP-OS warned.

“Our colleagues who have fallen in the massacre are now martyrs in the eyes of the Philippine press and of the world. This has only made us stronger,” the local media added.

The UJP-OS conducted its candle-lighting rites here at the Subic Boardwalk Park in time for the “International Day of Global Action” that was called for by the International Federation of Journalists, the mother organization of the UJP.

After the media ceremony, a healing Mass conducted at the same venue by Fr. Jerry Orbos also prayed for the victims of the Maguindanao massacre. (Henry Empeño, Business Mirror)

IN PHOTO -- BUT will the journalists’ plea and the lighted candles reach Malacañang? Zoe Zephyr, 10, and sister Ziya Aerin, 7, daughters of BusinessMirror’s Zambales correspondent, float candles at Subic’s Boardwalk Park during a symbolic petition for justice for the victims of the Maguindanao massacre. The ceremony was initiated by the Olongapo City-Subic Bay chapter of the Union of Journalists of the Philippines.