November 23 was a dark day for the media community, civil society and the Philippine nation as a whole.
The violent incident in Maguindanao did not only desecrate our continuing struggle for press freedom but it desecrated all levels of democracy such as right to life.
The carnage that claimed lives of 22 people â€” journalists, women and civilians, only mirrored how rich was the culture of violence that was being carried out by people who continue to abuse their powers, and how poor our government was in securing our rights as ordinary people.
While election related violence is not new in the Cordillera region where political warlords and dynasties exist, and where private armies are utilized at a maximum to prove that they are in command, we do not stay afloat to seek an end to the supremacy of corruption of wealth and abuse of power.
Let us open our eyes to these harsh realities because the moment we shut ourselves from these realities, a bullet may strike anytime in our midst soonâ€¦ignorance is an ally of perpetrators of violence.
Being silent in these times when all sectors of society are calling for swift justice for those who were killed, would be an exercise in futility. The carnage did not only send a message that bloodshed was necessary for those who wanted to exercise their might, it also sent us a message that anyone across sectors of society would not be spared in senseless killings and threats of blood bath.
While we demand for swift justice for those who departed and accountability from Arroyo administration, we also call for rage! Let us not be silenced by the sound of gunshots, instead, let us express our rage to start an end to the culture of violence which only perpetuates political warlords. We call for people from various sectors of society to speak up and let your voice be heard.
Let us be vigilant. Let us not falter in our vigilance.