WE MAY have been bulldozed by many events since 2009. Let’s try to list down the events that has grabbed our collective attention since this year?
* The 2010 elections that saw the cause of our collective sighs of exasperation today, Benigno S. Aquino III, become president.
* The bungled hostage crisis in Rizal Park, Manila where eight of 21 Hong Kong Chinese tourists were killed, that gave us a glimpse of why we are now heaving collective sighs of exasperation; the heightened tiff between the Philippine Airlines management and its crew that saw the cancellation of many flights in 2011, remember that?
* Tropical Storm Sendong that drowned residents of Cagayan de Oro and neighboring towns; whistleblower Heidi Mendoza and the controversial Armed Forces of the Philippines fund that led to the suicide of retired General Angelo T. Reyes.
* The continued snub of the Philippine Olympic Committee and the Philippine Sports Commission against the internationally bemedalled Philippine Dragonboat Federation (PDBF) Team; the Scarborough Shoal dispute, and yes, the exasperating Tito Sotto plagiarism case in 2012. Yes, that was just last year, even if it seems such an old joke.
* The Aman Futures scam that victimized 15,000 from Visayas and Mindanao; the Republic Act 10175, also known as the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, that tried to muffle just about everyone through a law that senators and congressmen passed under the radar, apparently hoping the people will never know, until they are sued.
* The signing of the 2012 Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro; the death of Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse M. Robredo on August 18, 2012. (Sun.Star Davao)
* The grand Janet Napoles scam and the sickening display of stolen wealth by her daughter Jeanette and the fake NGOs she has created to squirrel away P10-billion of pork barrel while senators and congressmen grinned and looked innocent.
All these happened between 2009 and 2013. All these caught out collective fancy and concern, making most of us forget the most gruesome massacre that has victimized Filipinos in recent times -- the Ampatuan Massacre committed four years ago today.
It was with the knowledge that given a few weeks or years the general populace will forget, the Davao media industry rustled up a commemoration right on its first anniversary and had the date declared by then Davao City Mayor Sara Z. Duterte-Carpio as the Davao Media Freedom Day.
Today marks the fourth anniversary of the Ampatuan Massacre that permanently silenced at least 34 media workers. Today, the Davao media celebrates the 4th Davao Media Freedom Day.
The media may be pulled here and there, just like these days when we can hardly gather to plan out today’s activities because of Yolanda-related concerns coming right after the Cebu-Bohol earthquake and the Zamboanga crisis, but we will not allow this gruesome act of impunity and the lessons the massacre imparts to be forgotten.
We are here to tell the people, and the government as it bumbles through relief operations, that there are many things that should be acted on and no calamity should ever erase these things from our minds. One of these is justice for people who are victims of government’s impunity and ineptitude.
As the Davao media marks the 4th Davao Media Freedom Day today through activities for communication arts students at the Ateneo de Davao University-Jacinto campus, we raise the call for the passage of the Freedom of Information Bill, the real one and not the watered down version congressmen and senators are trying to ram down our throats, because we know, that lack of access to valuable information in government has been the tool used by the avaricious in power to steal, kill, and blind the people.