Pinoys in London commemorate Maguindanao massacre

by Rose Eclarinal, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau

Posted at Nov 25 2011 11:11 AM | Updated as of Nov 26 2011 12:03 AM

LONDON - To mark the second year anniversary of the Maguindanao massacre, Campaign for Human Rights in the Philippines (CHRP-UK) with Amnesty International, trade union UNISON, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the National Union of Journalists UK, held a public forum at the Amnesty International Human Rights Action Centre, London.

‘Never Forget’ forum at the Amnesty International Human Rights Action Centre to commemorate the second year of the Maguindanao massacre/Rose Eclarinal, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau

In a forum dubbed as "Never Forget", panelists, which included journalist and lawyer Carlos Zarate, Stefan Antor of European Union–Philippines Justice Support  Programme (EPJUST), IFJ President Jim Boumelha, and CHRP-UK chairperson Mark Dearn, examined the issues around judicial processes, judicial system in the Philippines and warlordism in Mindanao, among others.

“If we forget, we run the risk of it happening again. There are series of problems in the Philippines: in the judicial system, in the political system which President Aquino must tackle and for him to tackle this requires pressure. It requires pressure from the Filipino people and it requires pressure from people around the world. Without the pressure, these reforms, reforms to legal system and reforms to political system will not be made and if these reforms are not made, we hope it will not happen, but we run the risk of another massacre like Maguindanao,” said Dearn.

The forum highlighted the carnage of 58 people in Maguindanao, including 34 journalists, as a reminder of how political clans and ruling elites the Philippines can perpetrate crimes and avoid prosecution.

(L-R) Atty. Carlos Zarate (National Union of People’s Lawyers), Mark Dearn (CHRP-UK), and Susan Cueva of UNISON/Rose Eclarinal, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau

“This is emblematic of how impunity is happening in a country. Ayaw nating mangyari ito sa Mindanao, sa Pilipinas o anywhere in the world na may mga taong basta na lang kikitil ng buhay ng walang pananagutan,” said Zarate.
He added that the best way to remember the victims of the massacre is to deliver justice to their families.

The panelists also called on President Aquino to deliver his promise of deep and wide reforms during his campaign.

“Sana panindigan ni President Noynoy ang mga sinabi niya during the campaign. He has to remember na siya mismo ay biktima ng human rights violation, ang pamilya nila. Pinatay ang tatay nila na hanggang ngayon di natin alam ang pumatay. It’s a challenge to the administration. If the present administration fails to deliver justice to the victims of the Ampatuan massacre, it will make or unmake the present administration,” said Zarate. 

Dearn also said that since Aquino came to office, Human Rights Watch has documented 7 extrajudicial killing and 3 enforced disappearance.

“CHRP will be there to remind him of what needs to be done,” he said.
‘Deadline’ screening

As part of the awareness campaign on human rights violations in the Philippines, CHRP-UK is also bringing to European cities the screening of the film “Deadline”, by award-winning director Joel Lamangan. It tells the story of Henry Rosales, a young journalist who is killed after exposing warlords and political dynasties in Mindanao.

"Deadline" will be screened in London on December 3 and 11 at St. Mary Abbots Hall, Vicarage Gate Kensington and Covent Garden Dragon Hall, Stukeley St., respectively.

Lead actor Allen Dizon and producer Dennis Evangelista will speak during the film showing and will answers questions from the audience. 

The film’s first stop is Rome, Italy then on to UK, Brussels, Netherlands, Austria, Denmark and Switzerland.