BARMM government assures protection of journalists

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews / 15 November 15) – As the 10th anniversary of the massacre of 58 persons, 32 of them from the media is being commemorated this month, the spokesperson of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) here assured the protection of journalists even if they are critical of its officials, spokesperson Naguib Sinarimbo said.

Sinarimbo said the Bangsamoro government recognizes press freedom as foundation of democracy and this should be honored and respected at all times.

Fifty-eight persons were killed, 32 of them from the media, on November 23, 2009 when their convoy of vehicles bound for the provincial Commission on Elections office in Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao, was flagged down along the national highway in Ampatuan town, Maguindanao by about a hundred men led by Datu Unsay mayor Andal Ampatuan, Jr. and herded towards Sitio Masalay, Barangay Salman where they were killed.

Leading the convoy was the wife of then Vice Mayor Esmael Mangudadatu, who was going to file her husband’s certificate of candidacy for governor of Maguindanao.

Ampatuan was arrested and detained along with his father, Andal Amaptuan Sr., and three of his brothers, among them Zaldy, then Governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) will join families of 32 media workers during the mass to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the massacre in Sitio Masalay. (Ferdinandh B. Cabrera / MindaNews)