CITY OF MALOLOS, BULACAN- In commemoration of Maguindanao massacre’s 6th anniversary and recent death of Bulacan Regional Trial Court Branch 84 judge Wilfredo Nieves, journalism students of Bulacan State University (BulSU) and Bulacan journalists held a candle lighting ceremony and a small parade on November 24 at the Capitol Grounds.
According to Carmela Reyes-Estrope, Bulacan Press Club President, this event was held to express their desire to end impunity. “Ang kandilang ating sisindihan ay sumisimbolo sa hindi natin pagkalimot sa kakulangan ng ating gobyerno para umaksyon at mahuli ang mga gumagawa ng masama o pumapaslang,” she said during the introductory speech.
They first held a candle-lighting ceremony in front of Macelo H. del Pilar’s statue, hailed as a the father of Philippine journalism, to pray for the 58 victims, 34 being media workers, of the “worst election-related violence” in the Philippines known as the Maguindanao Massacre which occurred on November 23, 2009.
After that, they marched towards the front of Bulacan Regional Trial Court, bringing the lighted candles, to commemorate the slain judge Nieves who was ambushed in his car on November 11. The suspect who allegedly shot him later admitted that Raymond Dominguez, one of the leaders of a notorious car theft group, is the mastermind behind the ambush. In 2012, Nieves sentenced Dominguez up to 30 years in prison.
Marjory Infante, a third year journalism student, said that a journalist must be the voice of the victims. “Ito ‘yong panahon para maipakita sa mga tao o sa mga susunod na mamamahayag na dapat i-voice out kung ano ‘yong dapat malaman. Kumbaga [ang mga mamamahayag] ‘yong magsasalita para sa pamliya ng judge,” she said.
Meanwhile, Thea Panganiban, also a third year journalism student, said that danger is part of a journalist’s life, and anyone who wishes to be a journalist must be prepared. “Kailangan naman talaga mag-ingat. Pero nakakabit na kasi ang danger sa gawain ng isang journalist. So dagdag ingat na lang din and know your field,” she ended.