Maguindanao massacre: The nation and the world reacts

1259062270-448As soon as details started to come out from the terrible carnage in Maguindanao, the national and international reactions have been unanimous in the level of mourning and anger.

They are a warning to President Arroyo that the nation and the world are watching:

Commission on Human Rights chair Leila de Lima asked:

“What kind of animals are these killers?” Read more

The Union of People’s Lawyers in Mindanao said:

“This barbaric mass murder not only indicates the early onset of pre-election violence, but,  also shows that the culture of impunity clearly pervades with the existence of warlord-maintained private armies that have long been tolerated by the government, past and present. Considering their proximity to the present occupants of Malacañang, these warlords, as well as their henchmen,  certainly believe that they can get away with cold-blooded mass murder.” Read more

For the Initiatives for Peace in Mindanao, the massacre was

“spawned by a culture of impunity that has long been kept unchecked by a government that is now widely perceived by the international community to be tolerant or approving of extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and other human rights violations. This culture of impunity imperils the exercise of the legal and media profession in the country and the defense of human rights and fundamental freedoms including the right to suffrage.” Read more

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines:

“This incident not only erases all doubts about the Philippines being the most dangerous country for journalists in the world, outside of Iraq, it could very well place the country on the map as a candidate for a failed democracy.” Read more

The Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility said:

“The violent attack struck at the heart of the country’s democratic forces—local politicians, lawyers, women and journalists. The call for justice must come from all, whether here or abroad, who believe that democracy must be strengthened in the Philippines.” Read more

The National Council of Churches in the Philippines:

“A massacre most foul, gross, and utterly repugnant!” Read more

Bayan Secretary-General Renato Reyes Jr.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo must not let her political association with the Ampatuan family stand in the way of a speedy and impartial investigation into the incident… We support the call for the disarmament and dismantling of private militias in the area which have long existed but have been seemingly tolerated by the government. The national government can no longer turn a blind eye to the long-standing problem of warlordism and violence in the province.” Read more

House Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo:

“This unspeakable act of brutality exposes the true state of Philippine politics where guns, goons and gold still hold sway.The massacre appears premeditated and planned specifically to discourage any opposition to the ruling political clan allied with the incumbent administration.” Read more

The College Editors Guild of the Philippines calls the massacre:

“An act of political barbarism.” Read more

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines said:

“The ruling Ampatuan warlord clan in Maguindanao has long enjoyed the favor and protection of Ms. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and the police, military and paramilitary forces of the regime for delivering huge majorities in the 2004 and 2007 elections through massive fraud and brutal force. The impunity accorded by the corrupt and brutally oppressive Arroyo regime to the Ampatuan clan and other favored political fiefdoms has given them license to commit atrocious acts against the people in order to perpetuate themselves in power.” Read more

The Communist Party of the Philippines said:

“While Malacañang had no choice but to officially ‘condemn’ the blatant massacre, it is now in a serious quandary on how to handle the case. The Ampatuan clan, which had been stifling opposition and marshalling ‘command’ votes to favor Gloria Arroyo and her allies in the past elections was repaid with the governorship of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao as well as of Maguindanao and the mayorship of many towns in the province. Malacañang now wants to take advantage of the incident by declaring ’emergency rule’ in the province.” Read more

British Ambassador to the Philippines Stephen Lillie:

“I condemn this brutal massacre of innocent civilians, including women, journalists and lawyers. I hope that the authorities in the Philippines will take urgent action to bring the perpetrators to justice and prevent further escalation of violence in the run-up to next year’s elections here.” Read more

The Southeast Asian Press Alliance had this to say:

“Even the warlordism that must be fought and condemned in Maguindanao is but a symptom of what truly has Filipinos and their democracy beleaguered. The perpetrators behind the most heinous acts in Maguindanao must be brought to justice. Immediately. Failure to act, we are afraid, would not only be an indictment of Philippine leadership. It will be nothing new.” Read more

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon described the incident as: “Brutal” and a

“Heinous crime committed in the context of a local election campaign”. Read more

From Reporters Without Borders:

“Never in the history of journalism have the news media suffered such a heavy loss of life in one day… We have often condemned the culture of impunity and violence in the Philippines, especially Mindanao. This time, the frenzied violence of thugs working for corrupt politicians has resulted in an incomprehensible bloodbath.” Read more

From the Committee to Protect Journalists:

“Covering the news has always been dangerous in the Philippines, but the wanton killing of so many people makes this an assault on the very fabric of the country’s democracy. Read more

In another statement, the CPJ said that:

“The massacre is among the deadliest events for the press in recent history”, adding that “the Philippines has a long history of impunity in the case of the deaths of journalists — a history it had started to work to reverse in recent years. Now the country needs its press corps to fully cover this story of wanton political violence, which took so many lives, including those of journalists.” Read more

From the International Federation of Journalists:

This is an event which shocks journalists around the world to the core.” Read more

In a separate statement, the IFJ notes that:

Under the current government the Philippines has become the most dangerous place in the world for media workers. At least 74 journalists have been killed during its eight-year tenure, yet the Government has not acted to end the culture of impunity. At last count, only four convictions had been secured.”  Read more

The International Association of People’s Lawyers said:

This latest brazen attack on our brave colleagues and their group of unarmed civilians is but a result and is engendered by the culture of impunity that has pervaded the Philippine political scene since President Gloria Arroyo came to power in 2001.” Read more

(More to follow)