8 years later, still no justice in Ampatuan massacre

The College Editors Guild of the Philippines deplore the intensifying culture of impunity and worsening state of human rights in the country, especially today that we remember the ruthless and barbarous attack ever recorded to journalists.

On November 23, 2010, 32 journalists were killed in what was described as one of the most fatal attacks to media practitioners. The “Ampatuan massacre” resulted in tagging the Philippines as one of the deadliest and most dangerous countries for journalists. Eight years have already passed but justice remains elusive for the victims and their families. In fact, the primary suspect, Andal Ampatuan Sr., have already died. Our court even granted his son, Sajid Islam Uy Ampatuan and 70 others responsible for the brutal attack, a temporary freedom.

Filipino journalists are always subjected under threat and attack amid the creation of the Presidential Task Force for Media Security under the regime of Rodrigo Duterte. It has no significant action and program to protect media practitioners from harrasment and state violence. It only serves as an agency under the Executive Branch, which is spearheaded by the perpetrators of harrasment and attacks to the media.

Duterte, as a proud fascist and outright violator of human rights, tolerates the continuing violence and culture of impunity in the country. Under his regime, six media practitioners have already been killed in their line of duty and at least 13,000 have been killed under the government’s war against drugs.

Also under the Duterte regime, some student publications have experienced intimidation and threats from state forces. The most recent was on September 25 where five of our member publications in Camarines Sur were reportedly part of a “watch-list” of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. March of this year, the Guild was maliciously red-tagged as an organization affiliated with the New People’s Army and subjected the Guild under surveillance by the state due to its progressive and patriotic orientation.

Amid the brutal assault to press freedom and democratic rights of the people, the Guild will maintain its patriotic and democratic orientation to fulfill its duty which is to uphold truth, freedom, and justice. We call on the Filipino people to unite and combat state-perpetuated violence and all forms of repression that target the people’s democratic rights.

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