Campus journalists gathered in Mendiola, Manila to demand justice for the victims of media killings in the Philippines and condemn President Noynoy Aquino’s utter disrespect to the victims of media killings.
Members of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) lit lanterns with a call for justice in commemorating the 58th month of Ampatuan Massacre which claimed the lives of 58 people, including 32 media workers on November 23, 2009.
The CEGP also condemned the Aquino’s mockery of media killings while in a human rights forum in Brussels, Belgium last September 17 (Manila time) where he told the international community that not all media killings are related to the job.
“The campus press calls for justice not just for the victims of Ampatuan Massacre but for all victims of media killings in the Philippines. We hold President Aquino accountable for the snail-paced trial of Ampatuan Massacre case and the dismissal and lack of conviction to cases of journalist killings,” said Marc Lino Abila, CEGP National President.
“Since 1986, there are 145 work-related media killings documented in the Philippines, but only 14 have convictions. Out of 145, there are 25 work-related media killings under Noynoy Aquino’s administration,” said Charina Claustro, Chairperson of CEGP Metro Manila chapter.
“It is very alarming for us student journalists that journalists and media workers continue to receive threats against their lives just by practicing their profession,” Claustro added.
“Student journalists are also victims of violation to press freedom inside our educational institutions. The CEGP documented 185 cases of campus press freedom violations for the first half of 2014. From administrative invention to censorship, withholding of funds to non-collection of student publication fees, suspension to closure, libel to harassment and surveillance, and even murder,” Claustro explained.
“The slaying of CEGP Vice President for Mindanao Benjaline ‘Beng’ Hernandez on April 5, 2002 in North Cotabato is still unresolved despite the United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) admonished the Philippine government for its inaction to Beng Hernandez’s’s case in the face of convincing evidence. Beng was killed by CAFGU agents under the command of M/Sgt. Antonio Torilla while in a fact-finding mission of human rights situation in Lumad communities,” related Abila.
“The Guild is steadfast in calling for genuine press freedom in the country and will continue to demand justice for the victims and conviction to the perpetrators of media killings and other human rights violations. The culture of impunity must end once and for all,” Abila ended.###