The Maguindanao Massacre
Political kingpin spreads terror in Maguindanao, Philippines / The Maguindanao Massacre Bane To Freedom the Press.
"The liberty of the press is a blessing when we are inclined to write against others, and a calamity when we find ourselves overborne by the multitude of our assailants."- Samuel Johnson
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states "Press Freedom" as, "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference, and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers."
This right, is cited and fully-backed by the UDHR is usually reinforced by legislation to ensure the freedom of scientific research which is also known as scientific freedom, publishing, press and printing expression (spoken and published) are made into laws and is protected and safeguarded in a country's binding legal system and should be part of its sacred constitution. Same laws applies to both freedom of expression and freedom of the press, and equal treatment to spoken and published expression is bestowed between these two rights.
One of the benchmark of judging the level of press freedom around the world is the "Reporters Without Borders". This yardstick includes the following: the number of journalists killed, expelled or harassed, and a state's domination and monopoly on TV and radio, and control of censorship and self-censorship in the media, and the overall freedom of media and difficulties that foreign reporters may encounter in covering an event. Philippines' freedom of the press and freedom of speech was then suppressed during the regime of the strongman Ferdinand Marcos and Philippines. There was news blackout all over the archipelago, wherein the only the good things about the country was shown and heard in broadcast (TV and radio) and through published print (newspapers and even books). Alas, scores of activists and demonstrators were reported and documented to be missing and killed. The ouster of Marcos by the People Power by the Filipino wiped all of that, and a Constitution was erected and implemented.
In my country the Philippines a brutal massacre just happened in Maguindanao Province that is
linked to the coming elections which is slated on May next year.Unfortunately power hungry political clans still exists and still sow
terror in the country. During elections they use brute force and the
dreaded 3 Gs, that is, "guns, goons and golds." The gruesome and truly
terrifying deaths of political rival and their supporters including
the media present was speculated to be planned according to Buluan Vice
Mayor Esmael Mangudatu, relatives of some of the victims. Days before
the convoy of the victims was killed a huge hole was dug and created to contain potential dead people. The Buluan
Vice Mayor knew about dangers he is facing because of the threats
hurled to him by his political adversaries which is the Ampatuan Clan,
who happens to have the present dominance over the years and boasts of political
army in the province. Instead of going to Shariff Aguak town to file for gubernatorial
candidacy at the Commission on Elections here, he delegated his wife,
the mayor of Mangudadatu town, two woman lawyers and several supporters
and journalists to do the favor. Knowing that women, are respected in
Muslim tradition, he opted to send an all-woman team and journalists.
The calculated risk backfired in favor of fate. After an hour before
the convoy left Buluan town at about 9:30 a.m. (last November 23 in the Philippines), the group was blocked
and abducted by some 100 armed men which is believed to be led by Datu
Unsay Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr.. Eventually these people were killed by their alleged abductors.
As of this writing 57 people were killed. What is worst about this brutal killing is the deaths of at least 12 media men that created howls and stinging reactions and condemnations from media men across the country and the world. I pity this incident because Philippines is well known to be a free-wheeling democracy and a lover of justice. Thanks to Corazon Q. Aquino and her inexhaustible throngs that overthrow a dictator in 1986 People Power (first ever bloodless revolution in the world) the Filipinos are now enjoying democracy, but with the horrible tragedy, this will give a severe blow to the country that I loved very much. Being a writer I am trying to level the playing field, I wrote great things about our country, cited how our choir groups the Madrigal Singers of the University Philippines won the hearts of people around the world with their truly angelic voices en route to winning and bagging numerous recognitions, awards and first place finishes all over the world, wrote about how beautiful the Filipinas are in and out, show my elation with a hub that was a tribute to a Filipino winning the prestigious and much-coveted 2009 CNN Hero of the Year Efren Peñaflorida and wrote a great hub about our boxing hero Manny Pacquiao who is cinched to be one of the greatest boxer of all time and a Hall of Famer in the years ahead.
But this time just like all the
people around the world that condemns the killings of innocent people
media men or not, I also condemn this ruthless and the show of barbaric
act done by these monsters whose motive is to annihilate people just to
fulfill a political plan of winning a place in the government position.
The main rival of the victims and their supporters cold killers should be in the top of lists of suspects, and the
country's infamous President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who is plagued
with different issues about her governance, is again, at her sloppy
form, displayed indecisiveness as she is slow to react with the
incident because of the debt of gratitude in winning the last
Presidential elections still exists. She was continuously thrown with
brickbats and slugs from the press all over the archipelago. The
media people all across the planet and United Nations condemned the killings. I have a mouthful of things to say about our very wonderful President but still out of decency I am controlling my emotions and my disgusts.
The Philippines just overtook Iraq as the most dangerous place for journalists according to United Nations, which is indeed a very saddening development. "At least 74 journalists have been killed during the eight-year tenure, yet the (Arroyo Administration) has not acted to end the culture of impunity. At last count, only four convictions had been secured," remarked the Brussels-based International Federation of Journalists. How worst this traditional politicking will go further in our country, Filipinos are already sick and tired of the present governance and we need better alternatives. I hope our President will not give her people another bad taste in the mouth just what she did in New York when her entourage indulge themselves with a lavish dinner and now the situation happening in the southern part of country which is Maguindanao is truly disturbing. Hmm... I hope Filipinos will not recall the ZTE deal scandal that rocked the country few years ago...
My sad 20th hub in the November HubChallenge... : (