November 25, 2009

Reality bites (Updated 11:47 pm, 11/26/09)

LIKE many of my colleagues in media, I too condemn in the strongest possible terms the hostage-taking and senseless killings that took place in Maguindanao earlier this week. There is no reason to involve women and innocent civilians such as journalists in violent schemes to settle political differences. As of the latest count, there were 47 dead, and yet no arrests have been made! All the government has done is declare a state of emergency. WTF?!?!

Let me tell you that back in the late 1980’s when I had the opportunity to work in the government, there was no fear of traveling to the far reaches of Mindanao. The places we usually read about now that lay host to these political killings or terrorist activities by Muslim extremists were places I used to travel with my bosses and fellow journalists. We would criss-cross Mindanao by land, with hardly a trail of military escorts because it was peaceful then.

Mindanao is a beautiful resource-rich region where most residents are men and women who once peacefully co-existed with others despite their dissimilar political, religious and cultural backgrounds. May the next president of this country be able to solve the peace and order issues in Mindanao so its people can return to their normal lives and prosper in peace.

The statements of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines here (courtesy of Nonoy Espina), and the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) here.

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From an eyewitness: "Datu Andal himself said, he said to us: 'anyone from the Mangudadatu clan - women or children - should be killed...' We don't ask why, we just followed orders." (Read the rest in Al Jazeera.)

Ampatuan's denial here.

RSF to the presidentita: 'Choose better political allies'

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LIST of journalists who were killed in Ampatuan, Maguinadano, as per GMA News. Pls. say a prayer for the eternal repose of their souls.

1. Ian Subang, Socsargen Today, General Santos City
2. Lea Dalmacio, Socsargen News, General Santos City
3. Gina De la Cruz, Saksi News, General Santos City
4. Maritess Cablitas, News Focus, General Santos City
5. Rosell Morales, News Focus, General Santos City
6. Henry Araneta, Radio DZRH, General Santos City
7. Neneng Montaño, Saksi News, General Santos City
8. Alejandro “Bong" Reblando, Manila Bulletin, General Santos City
9. Victor Nuñez, UNTV (senior correspondent), General Santos City
10. Mark Gilbert “Mac-Mac" Arriola, UNTV (cameraman), General Santos City
11. Bal Cachuela, Punto News, Koronadal City
12. Ernesto “Bart" Maravilla, Bombo Radyo, Koronadal City
13. Ronie Perante, Gold Star Daily correspondent, Koronadal City
14. Joel Parcon, Prontiera News, Koronadal City
15. Jun Legarte, Prontiera News, Koronadal City
16. Rey Merisco, Periodico Ini, Koronadal City
17. John Caniban, Periodico Ini, Koronadal City
18. Arturo Betia, Periodico Ini, Koronadal City
19. Noel Decena, Periodico Ini, Koronadal City
20. Rani Razon, Periodico Ini, Koronadal City
21. Jhoy Duhay, Gold Star Daily, Tacurong City
22. Andy Teodoro, Central Mindanao Inquirer, Tacurong City
23. Jimmy Cabilo, Midland Review, Tacurong City
24. (missing) Reynaldo “Bebot" Momay, Midland Review, Tacurong City
25. Napoleon Salaysay, Mindanao Gazette, Cotabato City
26. Jun Gatchalian, Davao City
27. Lindo Lupogan, News Media Gazette, Davao City
28. Jolito Evardo, UNTV (driver), General Santos City
29. Daniel Tiamzon, UNTV (asst. cameraman and editor), General Santos City

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