Pooled editorial on the Second anniversary of the November 23, 2009 Ampatuan Massacre
Referring to the extrajudicial killings that were so much a part of the past Arroyo administration, and the killing of journalists that spiked on November 23, 2009, President Benigno Aquino III declared in his 2010 State of the Nation Address (SONA) that his administration would “hold murderers accountable.”
Despite that pledge, six journalists have been killed since then, or a total of ten since the Ampatuan Massacre of November 23, 2009 which claimed the lives of 58 men and women, of whom 32 were journalists and media workers. Dozens of human rights workers, political activists, labor leaders and others have also been abducted, tortured and killed during the same period.
On the 40th day of the Ampatuan Massacre, a journalists’ organization announced the creation of a fund to help address the needs of the families of the victims.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) said the finances to be raised by the Justice Fund will be used in projects such as:
- a trauma counseling program for the families and members of local media community
- Mindanao media practitioners’ trainings on risk awareness and safety, election reporting, and reporting on culturally and politically sensitive places
- litigation support
- public awareness campaigns
- documentation of other incidents of harassment and attacks on the press in Mindanao.