On relentless media killings

The College Editors Guild of the Philippines, the oldest, widest, and only-existing alliance of tertiary student publications in the Philippines and Asia-Pacific, expresses its utmost outrage over the increasing attacks on journalists for the two last weeks.

On November 29, Joas Dignos of dxGT Radyo Abante was shot dead by four unidentified men in front of his friend’s house in Valencia City, Bukidnon. Last December 6, Michael Diaz Milo of Prime FM 99.1 was shot dead in Tandag City, Surigao del Sur while onboard his motorcycle by three unidentified men and just yesterday, December 11, Radyo Natin’s Rogelio “Tata” Butalid was fatally shot several times in Tagum City, Davao Del Norte by armed men. Another media worker, Jey Villalva of Aksyon Radyo Iloilo, was shot by two unidentified men last December 10 but survived.

In a span of eleven days, three media workers were murdered and all these attacks are strongly believed to be work-related.

CEGP highlights its outrage over the Aquino administration’s indifference with regard to these unabashed attacks on journalists. Under the Aquino government, 22 journalists have been murdered in the line of duty according to the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility and 11 happened this 2013.

Instead of addressing atrocities against media workers in direct connection to his mandate and trademark statement “Kayo ang Boss ko,” the President has frequently complained that the media has been nothing but critical of him since he assumed office. Aside from this, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. downplayed media killings a day before the fourth anniversary of Ampatuan Massacre.

Clearly, he is more concerned of media and public approval than actually exhausting everything at his disposal to uphold the rights of the Filipino people. The apathy and inaction of Aquino only speaks volume of his negligence of his duty.

It is within Aquino’s power that such barbarity is perpetrated and so it is him who is accountable. In this light, justice for the victims of media killings and press freedom from the Aquino administration is resolutely demanded.

The Guild stands firm as one of the front liners in condemning the grave media suppression sanctioned by Aquino’s culture of impunity. We are in solidarity with the families of the victims and in their defense the Guild will not resort to blood and sword, just like them oppressors: in the name of truth and justice, we will always be mightier with our pens and words. ###