NUJP condemns harassment against former chairman

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) condemns
the harassment against our former national chairman Edgar Cadagat,
president of the Negros Press Club.

Three persons in a multi-cab vehicle and a motorcycle briefly stopped
at Mr. Cadagat’s house in Bacolod City in Negros Occidental province
Friday night. One of the persons fired a shot believed to be from a
handgun in front of Mr. Cadagat’s house before they sped off.

Fortunately, Mr. Cadagat was not home during the incident. He believes
that the incident could be related to the stories and opinion articles
that he has written.

We demand that the Philippine National Police and other
law-enforcement agencies investigate the incident swiftly and
thoroughly, arrest the perpetrators and put them behind bars.

Mr. Cadagat is a pillar of the press freedom movement in the country
having fought for the rights and welfare of journalists since the
Marcos dictatorship.

The incident is revolting coming just four days after at least 30
journalists were slaughtered along with lawyers, women and other
civilians in Ampatuan town in Maguindanao province.

This shows that the global outcry and revolt against the massacre has
not stopped the attacks and threats against journalists in the
Philippines.

Even before the massacre, 104 Filipino journalists have already been
murdered since 1986 with 67 killed since President Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo came to power 2001.

The attacks and killings will only stop when the culture of impunity
is dismantled and when government can ensure protection and justice
for its citizens.

We call on our colleagues and the people not to be cowed, stand firm
against these attacks and defend our democratic institutions.

For reference:

Nestor P. Burgos Jr.
Chairman

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NATIONAL UNION OF JOURNALISTS OF THE PHILIPPINES
www.nujp.org
105-A Scout Castor Street (near Morato Avenue)
Quezon City, Philippines
Tel.: (+632) 4117768
Email: nujphil@gmail.com
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Are you a journalist under threat?
Report it to NUJP’s Threat Hotline: (+632) 411-7768
or email it to nujphil@gmail.com
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“There can be no press freedom if journalists
exist in conditions of corruption, poverty or fear.”
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12 Journalists among those killed in Southern Philippines Massacre

CMFR/PHILIPPINES – Armed men believed to be followers of a provincial warlord killed at least 12 local journalists who were accompanying the wife, relatives and lawyers of the vice mayor of a town in Maguindanao provincee last November 23. Maguindanao is a province in Mindanao approximately 950 kms from Manila.

The Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao—which includes  Maguindanao province—is  a hotbed of violence especially during elections.

But the massacre was described as unparalleled, and raised the number of journalists killed in the line of duty in the Philippines this year from three to 15. The killing of the journalists was itself unprecedented, and the worst of its kind since 1946 when the Philippines regained its independence.

Genalyn, wife of Buluan town vice mayor Ibrahim Mangudadatu, was about to file her husband’s certificate of candidacy (COC) for provincial governor at the provincial Commission on Elections office at the municipality of Shariff Aguak when around 100 armed men stopped the convoy composed of lawyers, relatives, journalists and media practitioners. Genalyn was among those killed.  The armed men were allegedly relatives and political allies of the Ampatuan clan, which is currently in control of the provinces.

The online news site GMANews.TV quoted Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Romeo Brawner as saying that: “Away pulitika po ito dahil ‘yung nangyari pong pagdukot sa mga kamag-anak ni (Mangudadatu) by the elements of Mayor (Andal Jr.) Ampatuan, sa ngayon po tinitingnan natin itong anggulo na ito (We are looking at the angle of political rivalry as the abduction was done by the relatives of of Mayor Ampatuan).”

Reports said that tension between the Ampatuans and the Mangudadatus had intensified in the past few months after Vice Mayor Toto Mangudadatu announced his intention to run against the Ampatuans in the gubernatorial race. The Ampatuans are political allies of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

John Paul Jubelag of the Publishers Association of General Santos & South Cotabato said Genalyn  had alerted local media practitioners to cover the filing of the COC of her husband.

Jubelag said six of the almost 50 people who joined the convoy had been beheaded by 11:30 a.m.

As of 5 p.m., November 23, all of the members of the convoy had been killed, including the journalists and media practitioners. Among the journalists killed were:  Bart Maravilla of Bombo Radyo Koronadal, Bong Reblando of Manila Bulletin, Neneng Montano of dxCP, Henry Araneta, dzRH Cotabato, Victor Nuñez of UNTV and his cameraman Mac-Mac Areola, and Andy Teodoro.

However the military has only recovered 21 bodies, reports said. Brawner said that 13 of the 21 so far found were women. The Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) and other journalist and press freedom groups have condemned the massacre, and have called for immediate government action to arrest and prosecute the perpetrators. Otherwise, said CMFR, the incident will further strengthen the culture of impunity which has allowed extra judicial killings to continue.

Lawyers group condemns massacre of journalists and fellow lawyers

*Statement *

The Union of Peoples’ Lawyers in Mindanao (UPLM) condemns in the strongest possible terms the brutal murder of scores of civilians in Datu Abdullah Sangki town in Maguindanaoin, a bloody start for the 2010 elections. Among the hapless victims were UPLM treasurer Concepcion “Connie” Brizuela and UPLM member Cynthia Oquendo.

Authorities claimed the victims were reportedly abducted by some 100 armed. They were accompanying the wife of Buluan Vice Mayor Ishmael “Toto” Mangudadatu , Genalyn, whose group was on their way to file her husband’s certificate of candidacy for Maguindanao governor at the Commission on Elections office in Shariff Aguak town, Maguindanao.

This barbaric mass murder not only indicates the early onset of pre-election violence, but, also shows that the culture of impunity clearly pervades with the existence of warlord-maintained private armies that have long been tolerated by the government, past and present. Considering their proximity to the present occupants of Malacañang, these warlords, as well as their henchmen, certainly believe that they can get away with cold-blooded mass murder.

It is doubly condemnable that among the latest victims were journalists and lawyers, who have been in the line of fire because of their commitment to their respective profession. Sadly, the names of Atty. Brizuela and Atty. Oquendo will be added to the long list of victims of extra-judicial killings under the present adminisatration.

The UPLM demands that justice be served on the victims, particularly to our colleauges, Attys. Brizuela and Oquendo. We demand that the Arroyo administration throws the full force of the government to bring the perpetrators, regardless of their affiliations, to the bar of justice.

Atty. Carlos Isagani Zarate
Secretary General
UPLM
0917-717-4014

NUJP condemns abduction of journalists, lawyers and others in Maguindanao

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines condemns the abduction Monday of 40 persons including four of our colleagues who were accompanying the wife of a town mayor in Maguindanao province to cover her filing of her husband’s certificate of candidacy.

It is even more troubling that the Armed Forces of the Philippines has reported that the abductors were allegedly led by a mayor, Datu Unsay Ampatuan, and a police officer, a Senior Inspector Dicay, and that Mangadadatu Mayor Toto Mangadadatu went on air over a Cotabato City station to report that six members of the party led by his wife, Genalyn, had been beheaded.

Taking hostage someone about to file a certificate of candidacy is, by itself, a brazen challenge to efforts to strengthen our admittedly fragile democracy. And, if true that a local government official and a police officer are involved, then it says a lot about how far government has gone to eradicate the warlord politics that continues to reign over many of our provinces, very often the poorest and most underdeveloped.

But to take hostage journalists who were merely going about their job of informing the public worsens the already heinous crime and elevates it into an assault on the Constitution itself and the freedom of the press and of expression it enshrines, and the people’s right to know which these freedoms serve.

We demand that government, from Malacañang to the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and Maguindanao, and its security forces, move swiftly to resolve this crisis and ensure that no harm befalls the hostages; and, if true that violence has been inflicted on some of the hostages, to ensure swift justice on the perpetrators, no matter who they are.

We demand that the abductors release the hostages, including the journalists, unconditionally.

Should any harm befall our colleagues, we will hold accountable the civil and security officials of Maguindanao, the ARMM and the national government for their failure to end the culture of violence and warlordism that lays waste not only to those who engage in politics but to innocent victims as well.

We call on all journalists to band together and demand no less.

Signed by all members of the National Directorate of the NUJP

KABATAAN, HANDA NA TAYO!

With the national elections merely six months away, we are all called upon to rise up to the challenge of contributing to genuine social change in our country.

Kabataan Partylist, the first and only youth representative in Congress, is a large network of energized and pro-active young people who are leaders in various organizations, formations and barkadas. Our members from across the regions represent diverse interests and backgrounds, tied by a common vision of a better future for the youth and for the nation. It supports youth and student-led organizations working for social, political, economic, cultural and environmental justice in the Philippines, and enjoins youth from all walks of life to foster active participation in nation-building, good governance and social change.

The National Convention of Kabataan Partylist is scheduled on November 18, 2009, Wednesday, 4:00pm at the Bahay ng Alumni, UP- Diliman, Quezon City. This National Convention with the theme “Panata 2010: Handa na Tayo” is the youth’s declaration that we are ready to step up, take the lead, and claim our rightful voice in the political process, and most importantly, change the way politics in the country is done. It will be participated in by different national organizations, student councils, student publications, young athletes, young celebrities, and youth leaders all over the country.

Mabuhay ang Kabataang Pilipino!