In the time that I was racking my brain on which topic I was going to choose for this column, I received an SMS from our former guest-lecturer on the publication: December is Human Rights Month. With that message, my vagabond mind sparked and came up with an idea of connecting it to a very controversial subject of discourse.
Ironically, 17 days before the annual celebration of Human Rights Day (December 2010), the world was shocked by the bloodiest bruit—screaming the brutality of massacre in the province of Maguindanao. This cruel mass slaughter left 57 corpses including the remains of more than 30 journalists. So far, as this is written, the mass grave digging goes on and the alleged perpetrators caught are still under probe.
This cannot be ignored. According to Brussels-based International Federation of Journalists, at least 74 journalists have been killed during the eight-year tenure of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo but four cases only have found resolution. Due to the aforementioned atrocious deed, our country gained the dubious distinction as the world’s most dangerous placed for media persons to work.
It is such a harsh reality that the assault on press people appears to be an invariable scene on the Philippines. In my intuition, it just shows that our government is not determined to quell this long-term cycle of savagery. The present regime obviously allows impunity and pays no eager attention all!
No doubt, this scenario stigmatized lawlessness and failure in governance in our country. It certainly painted a picture of enmity which is a clear indication that the system of justice in the Philippines is indeed deteriorating.
Furthermore, it proved that the condition of press freedom is truly threatening not only to mainstream media but also to campus press.
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In connection to the alarming status of our democracy, we must be reminded that students (especially those who are critical and not mealy-mouthed) are experiencing the sensitivity of some of the school administrators. It is no surprise therefore that an accruing number of campus repressions have been identified nowadays.
Our freedom was in deep trouble. And this problem will be more fatal, unless we act. Everyone of us can make a difference. Think about it…in the name of truth and patriotism.
On the whole, I urged everyone to show support and express solidarity against those negative issues that we are currently enduring. Be vigilant. Let’s get involved and join our hands in order to obtain the transformation not only to our school or country but more so, ourselves.
‘Now’ is the perfect time for a desirable action and connection.
Published in Volume 2 of Genre on February 2010.