Wednesday, May 31, 2006

A Renewal of Vows

Press Statement
May 31, 2006

Today, colleagues all over the country wear black and gather to silently light candles to remember and honor our dead.

But ours is not the silence of mourning or surrender, but of defiance, and the flames we light our steadfast determination to fend off the darkness descending on our land.

Since 2001, when the power of the people made Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo president, we have already seen 42 journalists murdered, a bloodletting that has far surpassed the combined toll under all her three immediate predecessors.

And lest we forget, this administration, which owes its existence to the supreme will of the people, is the first that has deigned to muzzle the independent Philippine press since the dictator.

Indeed, it is the supreme irony that the democracy we are supposed to have won back in 1986 has claimed more journalists – 79 thus far – than the 34 lost throughout the whole 14-year Marcos dictatorship.

And given this administration’s generally callous disregard both to the killings – not just of our colleagues but of hundreds of dissenters as well – and to the calls for justice and respect for people’s rights and liberties, we are afraid we have not seen the end of this murderous rampage.

But we will not be cowed into mute submission, neither by this government’s indifference nor the dark schemes of those who wish to silence us.

Today, with all our colleagues who join us nationwide, we renew our vow to be the voice of the voiceless, the succor of the dispossessed and the bane of the oppressors.

Our pens, microphones and cameras we consecrate to the cause of restoring the light of freedom and democracy to our benighted land.

National Union of Journalists of the Philippines

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