Remembering the lives lost in Mindanao

Two years have passed since 32 media men and 26 civilians were massacred in the town of Ampatuan in Maguindanao province, and the case has had little progress.

For the second anniversary of the crime, the National Union of Journalists (NUJP) collaborated with advertising agency BBDO Guerrero and the nation’s most-read newspaper, the Philippine Daily Inquirer to bring to light what happened in Maguindanao on November 23, 2009.

“The quest for justice for the victims of the massacre starts with not forgetting the crime, remembering its horror, and standing together drawing strength from each other’s sense of humanity so that this will not happen again,” said Secretary General Rowena Paraan.

The campaign, entitled REMEMBER, launched Monday and will run for a week, beginning with pictures of Inquirer columnists having their eyes closed in the Opinion section. A headline reads, “Some people would rather forget what happened in Maguindanao. We’ve closed our eyes to remember.”

Another part of the campaign is a print ad, with a visual of two years’ worth of newspapers stacked up.  Next to it are call-outs revealing news headlines of the months that have passed, representing a timeline. And buried at the bottom is the newspaper with the massacre as headline.

The ad signs off with the line, “Two years and still no justice.” and ““. The print ad will be running in Baguio, Bulacan, Cebu, Cagayan de Oro and Davao newspapers.

To support an international campaign against impunity, REMEMBER also includes a social media effort and a radio campaign that defines the word through examples of it.

Three stories were chosen from the 146 media killings in the past 25 years. The events are recounted in a straightforward manner, allowing reality to shock the listener.

REMEMBER is being carried in support of the International Day to End Impunity, held on the anniversary of the Ampatuan massacre by a global network of organizations.

Other activities organized by NUJP for the second anniversary commemoration of the Ampatuan massacre and International Day to End Impunity include:

1. National Conference on Media Safety – General Santos City, November 20-21


a. Risk-Mapping: Mindanao

b. Responding to threats and assaults against journalists: Quick Reaction, Legal Process and Campaigning

c. Video teaser launch: NUJP’s “Journalism and Trauma” Project

2. Visit to the massacre site together with media families on November 22.

3. Nationally-coordinated protest action on November 23, with NUJP chapters and media groups participating

4. Mendiola march (Manila) on November 23, together with various media groups, lawyers, human rights organizations and communication students from various colleges and universities.

5. Roundtable discussions on impunity and media killingsby local media, to be organized by NUJP in at least 15 areas, including Baguio, Cagayan de Oro, Butuan, Pampanga, Bulacan, Bukidnon, Bacolod, Sorsogon, Naga, Legaspi and Zamboanga.

6. Evening of poems and songs against impunity, November 17, Access Point (Scout Borromeo near Tomas Morato), a joint initiative of the NUJP and Concerned Artists of the Philippines. Ten journalists and 10 artists to read poems on freedom of expression, press freedom and human rights.

7. Safety Training for journalists from Cotabato, General Santos, South Cotabato, North Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat, November 18-19.

8. Two Years After, a photo wall of drawings by children of media victims, expressing how they feel two years after the massacre

9. Photo Exhibit – photos on the massacre and how media is fighting impunity; 4 sets to be distributed to different areas in the country to serve as roving exhibits, with schools, malls and churches as venues

10. Activities organized by Filipino journalists in Canada, Dubai and US

11. Photojournalists’ Day of Action: Kite flying, Nov. 20, together with their families, featuring 58 kites representing the 58 victims, to be held at the UP Diliman Sunken Garden, led by the Philippine Center for Photojournalism (PCP), an affiliate of NUJP

12. Public Service Ads on media killings and impunity (for print, radio, television and online) COPIES AVAILABLE, JUST CONTACT NUJP OFFICE

13. Under the Lord’s Shadows, a photo and multi-media exhibit by Jes Aznar on Maguindanao. The exhibit will open on November 23, hosted by the gallery the Kanto Artists-Run Space, “The Collective,” located at 7274 Malugay Street San Antonio, Makati. Maguindanao. It will run until December 7.