Monday, June 19, 2006

With impunity

When will the killings stop?

Today, ironically the birthday of national hero Jose Rizal, two people who dedicated their lives serving others through non-government work and the media were killed.

I might have met George and Macel Vigo when they were alive. George used to be a correspondent of the Union of Catholic Asian News like me. Macel used to be with non-government groups working for peace in war-torn areas of Mindanao. We have common friends. We might have been together in some UCAN meeting or gathering or NGO press conference. I cannot remember how they look like. Our friends remind me that George is mestizo-looking. Their looks are not important, though. What they did for others will always remind me of them.

There are so many things in life that we cannot explain. Unfortunately I cannot understand any explanation why people like George and Macel had to be killed. A friend in Kidapawan told me over the phone that George was the target but Macel was the first to have died. A bullet pierced through her heart. George died later in the hospital.

Why Macel? Why George?

Husband and wife NGO workers killed

By Malu Cadelina-Manar, MindaNews

KIDAPAWAN CITY - Two motorcycle-riding men shot dead a couple actively involved in non-government work (NGO) at around 5:15 p.m. Monday along Barangay Singao.

Killed were George Vigo, 33, project officer of the Mindanao Youth Leadership Program of the Community and Family Services, International, a Cotabato City-based NGO dealing with rehabilitation of internally displaced persons, and his wife, Maricel, 36, part-time media relations officer of Rep. Lala Talino-Santos of North Cotabato’s first district and since early this year was area coordinator of an NGO delivering solar services to villagers in remote areas.

The Vigos, both former journalists and co-founders of the Federation of Reporters for Empowerment and Equality (FREE), did part-time media work prior to their killing.

They left behind four children, three sons aged 13, 9 and 7, and an adopted daughter, aged 20.

North Cotabato Governor Emmanuel Pinol in a four-paragraph statement sent to MindaNews, said the killings “are now being investigated by the [Philippine National Police]."

Pinol said he directed provincial police chief Federico Dulay “to give an initial report [as soon as possible]."

“I extend my condolences to the Vigo family… Justice will be served," Pinol said.

Pinol, a distant relative of Macel (Maricel's nickname), graduated alongside Macel last April from the University of Southern Mindanao in Kabacan, under the Expanded Tertiary Education Equivalency Accreditation Program.

Initial investigation of the Kidapawan City police showed the motorcycle-riding gunmen followed the motorcycle-riding couple who was cruising toward Apo Sandawa Homes Phase 2. The Vigos were fired upon along Phase 1, in front of the residence of provincial board member Rey Pagal.

Relatives of the Vigos said they were not aware the couple had enemies as they had been “roaming freely, not only around the city but in other areas of the province and in Mindanao because of their job."

They also said the NGOs the couple had been working with since 2000 are not connected with progressive groups in the province.

George hosted “Tingog sa Kabatan-unan" (Voice of the Youth), a program of the CFSI aired over DXND-AM of the Notre Dame Broadcasting Corporation every Monday noon while Macel hosted every Sunday noon, “Kalihukan sa Kongreso (Congress Affairs), a program of Rep. Talinio also aired over DXND-AM.- Malu Cadelina-Manar/MindaNews

No comments: