It has been four years. It has been four years and impunity is still out in the open, catching fire and continually protecting the powerful from the comeuppance they should eat after ignoring and violating the rights and interests of the people.
The Maguindanao Massacre should always haunt us. It should haunt us while we are reading the newspapers at breakfast. It should haunt us while we watch Jessica Soho and Korina Sanchez deliver the news. It should haunt us when we finish our academic requirements. It should haunt us when we browse the web and see what is happening all over the world. If the sources of the news we read or listen to everyday are being harassed while they fulfill their job, what should we do? If blood needs to be shed just to write a news article, why are we not asking why is that happening?
The Maguindanao Massacre points to how dangerous and precarious it is to serve the people by covering events and documenting the truth. The Maguindanao Massacre points to what enduring political warlordism in some provinces in the Philippines can result to. The Maguindanao Massacre points to how you can inhumanely take away the lives of almost sixty people in a snap, get away with it and still be able to enjoy some privileges as a ‘prisoner.’ That infamous massacre shows us what the powerful can do just to protect their interests and their privileged positions in society, even at the expense of children and pregnant women, even at the expense of journalists who were just trying to cover the truth and the events behind them.
Four years after the Maguindanao Massacre, we should not be just “never forgetting;” four years after the Maguindanao Massacre, we should be standing up with gritting teeth, venting out our rage and resolutely looking for who or what should be accountable for this tragic event. A quick number recall: 58 have been killed in the massacre, and four years after, none has been prosecuted. This is what we call Impunity.
Four years after the Maguindanao Massacre, we should be watching closely, and if we are watching closely, we should be resisting and fighting dearly for our rights being trampled on. Media killings continue; under Aquino’s term, 19 journalists have been killed. The threat of criminal libel continues to hover above the head of journalists who are forced to alter or keep untold the truth they should be reporting in exchange of a more peaceful, libel-case-free life. On its part, the campus press constantly needs to deal with threats to their press freedom. King’s College of the Philippines’ Loquitur is facing administrative intervention and a meddling adviser, an appointee of no less than the school Administration. UP Baguio Outcrop is still facing a libel case filed by a University Professor. This is the press that delivers us the news and the stories of the Earth – gagged, choked, intimidated, threatened with sharp words, if not guns and bullets.
This is why on the fourth year of the Maguindanao Massacre, to ‘never forget’ is not enough; to ‘never forget’ is never enough. The truth is being killed. And we are all being fed with lies. With a repressed media, our right to information is being denied. With media practitioners being harassed or killed, our right to information is being killed as well. To demand for justice and press freedom then is not just for the families of Maguindanao massacre victims or the mainstream and campus media to do; it should be concertedly done by all of us, the people whose rights and interests have been neglected by those in power in the advancement of theirs.
Today, we remember the Maguindanao Massacre, and we will never stop demanding that the truth be served and that justice be served for all the people hurt and disadvantaged in this for-the-few scheme of things.
Justice for the victims of Ampatuan Massacre!
Stop media killings and human rights abuses!
Persecute human rights violators!
End Impunity Now!