Statement of the Zamboanga-Basilan-Sulu-Tawi-Tawi (Zambasulta) Chapter of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines on the massacre of twelve media practitioners in Maguindanao Province, the Philippines on
We, members of the Zamboanga City chapter of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), hereby express our most extreme outrage and horror over the massacre of probably as many as a dozen of our colleagues while in the course of their work in Ampatuan municipality, Maguindanao province in Mindanao on Monday, November 23. Words fail to convey the enormous condemnation we heap upon this barbaric deed and its barbarous perpetrators, whose descent into moral monstrosity has no parallel in Mindanaoâ€™s troubled history.
Lest the world will erroneously perceive Mindanaoâ€™s as a dangerous society because of this tragic incident to our common communal discredit, we the Zamboanga mediamen are obliged to hasten to tell this truth: The primitive, savage practice of blood feud and vendetta behind the massacre of our colleagues â€“ and the other civilians whose political activity they were covering on that fateful day- is solely the special characteristic of a few ethnic tribes now existing amid our civilized, democratic society in Mindanao. We take this opportunity to appeal to these our tribal brothers and sisters to seriously re-examine their anachronistic and destructive sense or system of justice.
We ask the government to swiftly arrest and punish the perpetrators of this mass murder. Although the Ampatuan clan said to be behind this mass murder are known to be her political henchmen and running dogs in Central Mindanao, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo should not and must not a la Pontius Pilate let this one more heinous atrocity pass into history without the deserved punishment to the killers and redress to their victims as well as to their injured, scandalized communities. Without such a categorical closure, we in Mindanao will continue to bleed and suffer from this systemic culture of violence and death. With hope we say, God forbid!