Monday, November 19, 2012

Bulacan media to mark Ampatuan Massacre early

by Ramon Efren R. Lazaro / Correspondent,

CITY OF MALOLOS—Bulacan journalists and journalism students from different universities in the province will hold on Wednesday, November 21, a candle-light parade  at the provincial capitol grounds here in commemoration of the third anniversary of the infamous Ampatuan Massacre.

Dino Balabo, chairman of the Bulacan chapter of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), said three years have passed since 58 persons, 32 of them journalists, were murdered on November 23, 2009, in Maguindanao.

Balabo said 153 candles will be lighted to commemorate the 153 journalists killed in the country since 1986.

In a news statement, NUJP-Bulacan said that over 100 journalists and journalism students are expected to join the activity to show their support of journalists’ calls to end impunity in the country, press for the passing of the Freedom of Information bill, and call on all journalists to continue to rise the bar of journalism.

Balabo said the campaign to end impunity only addresses calls on the government to implement laws to protect citizens, journalists or not, and that there must be a parallel campaign to remind journalists to pursue ethical and responsible reporting.

This was echoed earlier by the NUJP National Directorate along with the Philippine Press Institute (PPI) and the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR).

The group said the best protection for journalists is ethical and responsible reporting.

The Bulacan activity will be held  two days ahead of the bigger activity planned by the NUJP, PPI, CMFR, the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, Freedom Fund for Filipino Journalists, the Center for Community Journalism and Development, and the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas in Manila on Friday.

The Manila activity will be highlighted by the parade of 153 coffins from Welcome Rotonda in Quezon City to  Mendiola.

Rowena Paraan, NUJP secretary-general, said the parade of coffins will serve as an expression of outrage against impunity.

She said despite the change in administration, the killing of journalists continue with at least 10 murdered since the Aquino administration assumed office in July 2010.

“Remember our slain colleagues. Help us carry the 153 coffins to Mendiola,” Paraan said as she invited journalists to join the funeral march on Friday.