NPC Statement

November 29, 2009
Reference: Benny Antiporda

CAJ secretary to read Asean journalists’ position
NPC JOINS CALL FOR UNITY OVER AMPATUAN CARNAGE AT MENDIOLA RALLY TODAY

The National Press Club of the Philippines will join today,
November 30, a multi-sectoral peace rally at the historic Mendiola
bridge over the rising incidence of political violence in the country
and urge the authorities to hasten their probe on last Monday’s
‘Ampatuan Massacre’ in Maguindanao.
NPC president Benny Antiporda said they have already
hammered out the details of the activity in several marathon meetings
with other media groups and cause-oriented organizations who were all
outraged by the massacre of at least 57 innocent civilians last
November 23 in Maguindanao.
The last official count puts the number of journalists who
were among the victims at 27, the worst, single day attack against
journalists in any part of the world.
“This is a peace rally that aims to bring out the
collective anguish and outrage of those in the media profession and
other sectors of society over the death of so many innocent people.
“This unparalleled act of barbarism deserves condemnation by all
peace-loving people regardless of political affiliation or social
standing,” Antiporda said.
The NPC on Tuesday also staged a protest march in EDSA
which succeeded in forcing police officials in Camp Crame in granting
a dialogue to the protesters and brief them on what the Philippine
National Police is doing to pursue the case.
As worldwide condemnation over the incident pours in,
Antiporda said N.V. Anbalagan of the National UNion of Journalists
Malaysia and concurrent secretary of the Confederation of Asean
Journalists, is to arrive on Sunday to join his Philippine colleagues
in the march to Mendiola (now Chino Roces Bridge).
Mr. Anbalagan’s arrival is in line with the CAJ’s program of
actions approved by the group during its general assembly last month
in Kuala Lumpur. Among others, they include looking into the cases of
media killings in the Philippines.
Antiporda is the CAJ’s current vice president.
Mr. Anbalagan is to hand carry the CAJ’s letter to Pres.
Gloria Macapagal Arroyo regarding the Ampatuan massacre where they
also urged the chief executive to “act decisively” on the incident.
“(W)e condemn this appalling and truly shocking development
that has no parallel elsewhere.
“Words are not enough to describe the depth of anguish that we at the
CAJ, as well as journalists everywhere, now feel over this mass
killing, in a single day, of our fellow media practitioners,” the CAJ
said.
Antiporda said while the club is elated over the spontaneous series of
protest actions launched by other sectors and media organizations
immediately after the massacre, today’s rally (Monday) emphasizes the
journalists’ unity in seeking justice to their fallen colleagues and
strengthen press freedom in the country.
“The Ampatuan massacre calls on us, practicing journalists, to set
aside our differences if we are to force the government to listen and
take the actions necessary to strengthen press freedom and give
justice to our fallen comrades in the profession.
“We also demand that the government take decisive actions
in ending the prevailing culture of impunity in many parts of the
country that has already resulted to the death of so many innocent
people,” Antiporda added.
He noted that what made the Ampatuan massacre possible is the
willingness of some government officials to tolerate the existence of
political warlords mainly in the provinces in exchange for their help
especially during elections.
“This ‘tit-for-tat’ with crooks, election cheats and other social
miscreants by many of our officials is what made the Ampatuan massacre
possible in the first place. The time has come for all of us to put a
stop this practice,” Antiporda said. ###

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