Some 2,000 students, journalists, priests, ulama, nuns and soldiers marched in Cagayan de Oro City to commemorate the second anniversary of the Ampatuan Massacre, and mark the first International Day to End Impunity and the opening of the Mindanao Week of Peace, early morning Wednesday.
Carrying placards, streamers and tarpaulins, delegates marched from Rodelsa Circle to the Press Freedom Monument at the Capitol grounds where they held an ecumenical prayer for peace and justice for victims of impunity.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines-Cagayan de Oro Chapter, Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Antonio Ledesma and Maj. Gen. Victor Felix of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division led the participants.
Joining the march were delegates from the Bishop-Ulama Council headed by Ledesma, seminarians from the St. John Vianney Seminary, United Church of Christ in the Philippines, Iglesia Filipina Independiente, NUJP-Cagayan de Oro chapter, Cagayan de Oro Press Club, Amnesty International-Cagayan de Oro chapter;
4th Infantry Division-Philippine Army, Tactical Operations Group 10-Philippine Air Force, trainees from the Philippine National Police 10 and college and high school students from Lourdes College, Misamis Oriental General Comprehensive High School, Kong Hua High School and Xavier University.
Monsigñor Rey Manuel Monsanto gave the rationale of the march and ecumenical prayer rally while Ledesma read the Bishop-Ulama Council’s statement on the Mindanao Week of Peace which carries the theme “Common word between us and you: Love of God, Love of Neighbor.”
The highlight of the ecumenical prayer rally was the candle lighting for the victims of the Ampatuan Massacre, Fr. Fausto “Pops” Tentorio and all the other victims of extrajudicial killings.
In Malaybalay City, three Bukidnon-based media organizations jointly organized a commemoration of the second anniversary of the Ampatuan massacre.
Members of the Bukidnon Press Club, the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas, and NUJP gathered at the Bukidnon State University Museum to also mark the International Day to End Impunity, which was declared by the International Federation for Free Expression.
Dubbed “Barog, Tapok, Lihok” (Stand, Gather, Act), local journalists held a program to remember the tragedy, listen to updates on the case, and pray for slain colleagues and their families.
Organizers said they also planned to launch local collaborative initiatives to address issues on media safety, ethics, sustainability, and professionalism.
A program sent by the organizers said they will show “58”, ANC’s documentary on the massacre.
Members of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan also organized a prayer-rally in Valencia City. (Cong Corrales and Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)