The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines joins the families of the victims of the Ampatuan Massacre and the media community in the continuing call for justice for the deadliest single attack on journalists in the world.
Although the guilty verdict handed down in December 2019 was a victory, we acknowledge that that was only partial justice and one that we must be vigilant about losing. Even as the families wait for further developments in the case, justice is even more elusive for the family of Reynaldo “Bebot” Momay Jr., who was not included among the victims of the massacre because his remains have yet to be found.
We join his daughter Reynafe Momay-Castillo and the other families in asserting that there were 58 victims of the 2009 massacre. We continue to #FightFor58 because, like for the families, forgetting is not an option and will never be an option.
Even as we call for justice for the 58, NUJP also stands in solidarity with media workers who have been harassed, attacked and killed since 2009. In the constantly changing media landscape, attacks are no longer limited to physical ones.
According to Pinoy Media Center, publisher of Pinoy Weekly, their website was targeted last week by a Distributed Denial of Service attack. This as well as other attacks on media and attempts to stem the free flow of information contribute to the very adverse conditions that journalists and media workers in the Philippines have been working in.
The Ampatuan Massacre is a symbol and a symptom of the culture of impunity on the attacks on media and other civilians.
It is a grim reminder of the rottenness of the political system ruled by dynasties and warlords. This day calls upon us to remain vigilant and continue defending democracy against tyranny and it is for calling for accountability for these attacks that we can help keep our colleagues safe.