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Emmie Joaquin    Stop killing journalists

The Maguindanao Massacre

In our previous issue, I said it was a “feel good” issue. That was then.

While I would normally welcome the month of December with happy anticipation of the upcoming holiday season, I can’t help but feel very sad and outraged at what had happened in southern Philippines, particularly in the town of Ampatuan in Maguindanao, on November 23. Now infamously known worldwide as the “Maguindanao Massacre” – no less than 57 defenseless people were brutally murdered in broad daylight. They were men and women that comprised the convoy of aides and relatives of Muslim politician, Esmael Mangudadatu, plus a batch of local journalists. The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) released their final count of 32 print and broadcast media journalists. Fifteen of the 57 were innocent motorists and by-standers who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

In this issue of Pilipino Express, we are featuring a photo essay of the aftermath of the Maguindanao Massacre by former Winnipegger, Rev. Dann Pantoja who is now based in Davao City. He is currently the president of Peacebuilders Community Inc. in Davao City. Two days after the massacre, he went to the site of the heinous crime, his photos are in this issue of the Pilipino Express.

My younger brother, Jon Joaquin, is a journalist. He is now based in Davao where he decided to settle with his Davaoeña wife and two children. He is the managing editor of the Mindanao Daily Mirror. I have asked him to write his views on the slaughter of his fellow journalists.

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