Sunday, December 07, 2014

Remembering Ampatuan

A week before the infamous date, we followed the road from Marbel, South Cotabato to do a story of the backhoe (actually, excavator) used to bury the dead--and the story of the Ampatuan massacre, where 58 people, 32 of them media workers were killed in Ampatuan, Maguindanao.  The road eventually brought us to the town of Tacurong, where the group of media workers slept their last in a hotel five years ago, before proceeding early morning the following day on the road to Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao, to cover the filing of candidacy of the former Buluan mayor, running for governor in Maguindanao against the ruling Ampatuan clan.  The media workers, together with the politician's relatives and supporters, did not reach Shariff Aguak.  They were waylaid to their death in an isolated hillside in sitio Masalay, barangay Salman in Ampatuan town.  They were all buried here.  This was the last of their journey, the beginning of our own, as we continue the search for justice for hundreds of journalists killed in the Philippines since the so-called democracy was restored in 1986.

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