VARIOUS media organizations led by the National Press Club (NPC) of the Philippines will march to Chino Roces Bridge (formerly Mendiola) on Monday morning for a program commemorating the 6th anniversary of the Maguindanao massacre, the single most deadly attack on journalists in recorded history.
NPC officers and hundreds of its members from various press organizations will conduct a simple wreath-laying ceremony at the site where a marker stands in memory of the 32 journalists murdered on November 23, 2009 in Ampatuan town in Maguindanao province.
“It has been six years since the gruesome Maguindanao massacre where many of our colleagues were silenced by members of the powerful Ampatuan clan and their minions.
And for the last five years, the Aquino government’s promise to bring the perpetrators to justice remains empty and the case in limbo over a series of humiliating setbacks,” the group said in a statement.
Besides the NPC, the Burgos Media Center, Confederation of Asean Journalists, College Editors Guild of the Philippines, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan and other militant groups will join the march to the historic bridge just outside Malacanang in Manila.
“As Aquino’s incumbency draws to a close, it is but right to tell him how disgusted we are for his administration’s weak efforts [if any]in curbing media killings and in addressing the culture of violence and of impunity that threatens us all, not only those who practice the media profession,” the NPC said.
This year’s theme is “PNoycchio: the lying president” where an effigy depicting President Benigno Aquino 3rd with an elongated nose will be presented to the public to highlight the government’s unfulfilled promises to curb cases of media killings.
The effigy will be burned as participants don t-shirts with the markings: “Anim na taon na! Sinungaling ka [It has been six years! You’re a liar]!”
The NPC began its weeklong commemoration of the massacre on November 16 when black drapes were unfurled to cover the NPC’s spiral staircase as a sign of solidarity and mourning.
Malacanang expressed hope that the resolution of the case will be fast-tracked by the judiciary.
“There have been many concerns raised on the pace of the case on the Ampatuan massacre and we know that the trial process is slow but that is with the judicial branch. Media and government have aired the call several times that the trial of the case be sped up,” Malacanang spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a radio interview.
Lacierda added that they continue to be “outraged” by the incident, which happened during the time of then-President Gloria Arroyo.
“We remember the people who unfortunately died in that tragic massacre. So, once again, we continue to ask our judicial branch if there’s any way that they can speed up the pace of the case. We understand that the Supreme Court has done a number of reforms and, hopefully, we hope that the case will be resolved at the earliest possible time.”