A month has gone by since at least 57 people, at least 31 of them media workers, were slaughtered in the hills of Ampatuan town in Maguindanao.
Today, all over our benighted land, we gather to commemorate the fallen and recommit ourselves to the cause of ensuring justice for them.
Today, we gather to remember that the Ampatuan massacre was not, as some would have us believe, an isolated incident borne of the feud between two contending warlord families but the logical, if bloody, consequence of a system of governance that not only nurtured but armed the likes of the Ampatuan clan and the many more warlords like them who rule their regions, provinces, cities and towns like personal fiefdoms.
Today, we gather to remember that the Ampatuan massacre was not only the worst single attack on the press in history but a continuation of the series of assaults on press freedom that have been abetted not just by official inaction but by this administration’s many attempts to muzzle the independent Philippine media.
Today, we gather to remember and to impress on our people that the Ampatuan massacre and the search for justice for its victims is not the cause of the media alone but should be the cause of each and every Filipino who values freedom and democracy.
Today, and on the 23rd of each month hereon, let us gather and remember the fallen and recommit ourselves to the cause of justice and freedom and holding accountable not just the killers but, just as important, those who created the circumstances that made this crime against humanity possible.
Nestor P. Burgos Jr.
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