It was year 2009, the 23rd of November to be exact. I remember fairly well because it was a day before my birthday, and of course, because of the dreadful events that transpired. 58 people, including lawyers, journalists and pregnant women, were brutally murdered and buried in Ampatuan, Maguindanao, Philippines.
Esmael Mangudadatu, along with his wife and two sisters, media men and people were on their way to the provincial office of Shariff Aguak to submit his Certificate of Candidacy for the 2010 elections, going up against the then mayor, Andal Ampatuan Jr., when they were stopped by over a 100 armed men who abducted and killed almost all of the convoy.
The details the news were giving were extremely horrifying. There were evidence showing that the abducted women were first raped before being shot in the genitals and killed. The men were also beheaded.
I was only in my first year of high school then. I was only fourteen.
Last Friday night, me and a couple of friends joined the Bible Readers Society or BREAD Choir as they performed in UP College of Mass Communication for an event entitled: Pangalay, Isang Gabi ng Pagtatanghal at Pag-alala.
The official poster of the said event.
Photo Courtesy: UP CMC Student Council Official FB Page
Hosted by the Graduate Students’ Association of UP CMC, it was a night filled with solidarity speeches and cultural performances aimed to raise awareness about the Maguindanao Massacre, and as to how justice is still not being served, and how we must always commemorate that day when lives did not simply got took away, but were brutally taken.
It’s been four years, and some people have already forgotten. But for the families and friends of the victims in those killings, four years will only seem like a week. The hurt and pain will come back every November, like a fresh, bleeding wound.
UNTV-37, known in the Philippines as the country’s Public Service Channel, is a part of those grieving families, having lost four media men in the event.
Three years ago, last May 17, 2010, UNTV, through its chairman and CEO, Daniel Razon, spearheaded a fund-raising for the families of the victims of the massacre. Some of the country’s greatest musical artists graced the event to pay tribute and lend a hand to the bereaved families.
Daniel Razon, Chairman and CEO of UNTV, spearheads the Protest Broadcast 3: Cry for Justice held at the Big Dome last 2010, to help raise funds for the families of the victims of the Maguindanao Massacre.
Photo Courtesy: Flickr account of Eldon Tenorio
Aside from tribute concerts, UNTV also consistently commemorates the days that have gone by since the bloodshed, usually every after its news reports segment at night.
In accordance to what Kuya Daniel Razon always says, “Walang gawang mabuti na magbubunga ng masama” (Nothing evil will come out of doing good), UNTV will remain steadfast in their campaign to serve the public and do good to others, despite the tragedy that transpired amongst its co-workers and friends. UNTV journalists and media men are trained to prioritize and value rescue first before their news reports, promoting that lives are far much more important.
Viewers of UNTV’s popular morning show, Good Morning Kuya, request that supporters wear white on
November 21 and black on November 22 in commemoration of the Maguindanao Massacre.
Photo Courtesy: Good Morning Kuya’s Official FB Page
This coming November 21, 22 and 23, let us all be one in commemorating the Maguindanao Massacre, and together, let us all say never again to impunity.