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The Maguindanao Massacre

Updated on March 10, 2013

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.

The nation is now grieving with the recent tragedy happened in the country...
The nation is now grieving with the recent tragedy happened in the country...
Retrieving the vehicles and corpses of the victims of political killings in Maguindanao Picture courtesy of english.people.com.cn
Retrieving the vehicles and corpses of the victims of political killings in Maguindanao Picture courtesy of english.people.com.cn
A chilling and horrifying deaths of the victims.Picture courtesy of english.people.com.cn
A chilling and horrifying deaths of the victims.Picture courtesy of english.people.com.cn

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 PeƱaflorida 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... : (

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    • profile image

      precious 

      6 years ago

      they are monster..

    • GeneralHowitzer profile imageAUTHOR

      Gener Geminiano 

      8 years ago from Land of Salt, Philippines

      Yeah that's the way thing should have to...

    • K Partin profile image

      K Partin 

      8 years ago from Garden City, Michigan

      GH sorry you had to end your November challenge on such a tragic note. Thanks for sharing your story. It needs to be told!

    • GeneralHowitzer profile imageAUTHOR

      Gener Geminiano 

      8 years ago from Land of Salt, Philippines

      @ shamel - it is indeed shamel... horrible and terrifying...

      @ pdh - yeah I hope things will be okay in the days ahead...

      Thanks a lot to the two of you...

    • prettydarkhorse profile image

      prettydarkhorse 

      8 years ago from US

      this is tragic GH, sad but it is happening, I can imagine what is going to happen in the following months, I could only pray about it, I thank you for helping to shed lights and trying to see the light and share this happening to the whole world, your writings are very helpful to sehd light on other side of the good Philippines! Maita

    • shamelabboush profile image

      shamelabboush 

      8 years ago

      Oh, this is so tragic! Till when people will go on slaughtering one another? Will they ever realize that there are innocent lives on stakes? Nice one GH.

    • GeneralHowitzer profile imageAUTHOR

      Gener Geminiano 

      8 years ago from Land of Salt, Philippines

      You are always smarter than me no doubt about it... That is a red flag, sometimes calculated risk is indeed risky...

      Thank you very much for the visit my dear emie... :)

    • emievil profile image

      emievil 

      8 years ago from Philippines

      I'm with you on that but with what I'm seeing right now in the press, your number two actually is now the number one and number one is a very far number two. Not that I'm blaming the media for putting themselves in this position but sometimes, really, they should still practice prudence over their need to "tell all". The fact that Mangudadatu was not granted a police or military escort is already a red flag for them, that something bad might happen.

    • GeneralHowitzer profile imageAUTHOR

      Gener Geminiano 

      8 years ago from Land of Salt, Philippines

      @emievil - yeah you are right with your comment, but the assailants (especially the mastermind)knew that there were women there and journalists, it is very terrifying to kill the mediamen no matter what is the cause or reason is, for they are covered with the rights given by the UDHR.

      Try to think of it, the Magudadatu will not let her relatives, including her wife and the media people as protection of getting an outright filing of candidacy if the local police gave him protection and escorts, dirty politics plays a role here... being an ally of administration the police control is in favor of the incumbents... with this impartiality the convoy was an easy picking for abduction and massacre.

      There were a some violations that happened here:

      1. Destroying the unwritten code of honor for Muslims wherein women should be respected. Of course honor is not in the vocabulary of the cold killers.

      2. Mediamen should never be murdered.

      Thank you very much for citing my Author Score... Take Good Care Always Girl... Happy Hubbing All the Time...

    • emievil profile image

      emievil 

      8 years ago from Philippines

      Hi GH. First of all congrats for the 100 score!

      Secondly, you beat me to it! LOL Was about to write the same thing, unfortunately, my husband advised me not to (he was assigned there before) and he knows firsthand the kind of 'heat' generated by such goings-on.

      Just want to say one thing. If we look deeper, this is not actually a crime against media per se, in the sense that, unlike the other killings, they are not really the ones targeted. It just so happens that they were a lot of them killed because they were with the convoy. You think if there was no media around and only the family of the vice-mayor was killed, would they send out the same outcry? I'm not trying to put down the media here, or try to belittle what happened to them but I just want to point out that there seems to be a bit of bias here because media men were 'nadamay' in the killings. The killings against the media men are really atrocious but it's taking the spotlight away from the real victims - a grieving family who lost a wife, two sisters (one pregnant), an aunt (also pregnant) and several family members who are also innocent and who just want to show their support for their politician-family member.

    • GeneralHowitzer profile imageAUTHOR

      Gener Geminiano 

      8 years ago from Land of Salt, Philippines

      The antics of these political monsters reeks to heavens and forced me to write something negative about our country... Thank you for commenting Ma'm and for the time... :)

    • bingskee profile image

      bingskee 

      8 years ago from Quezon City, Philippines

      they are not human beings.. they are monsters that mutated from greed of power.

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