The Filipino American Community's Appeal to Stop the media killings in the Philippines now
MEDIA practitioners and concerned citizens in the Greater Chicago Area of the U.S. endorse the demand made in the May 26th editorial of the Philippine Daily Inquirer to "Stop the media killings" in the Philippines. We are making its demands on our own.
We are making this appeal to President Benigno Aquino III through the top officials of our local Consulate General in Chicago, Philippine Ambassador to the U.S., Jose Cuisia, Jr. and a copy of this petition is being furnished to the officers of the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility.
The full text of the editorial follows:
The killing of Digos, Davao del Sur radio journalist Sammy Oliverio last May 23, by an unknown gunmen, is another brutal reminder that journalism in the Philippines remains a very risky trade—and that the Aquino administration has failed to stop the national catastrophe of media killings.
Oliverio, who was riding his motorcycle on his way home, died the instant he was shot in the head. According to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, he was the 28th journalist or media worker killed during the Aquino presidency; the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility's tally lists him as the 24th.
(Barely two weeks after Oliverio was murdered, another media man was killed. The Inquirer story follows:
Journalist Nilo Baculo Sr, 67, was gunned June 9 in Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro while working on a story allegedly involving a "big transaction" of illegal drugs inside the provincial jail.
Baculo was shot dead by gunmen aboard a motorcycle near his house in Barangay (village) Lalud.
He was shot dead by gunmen aboard a motorcycle near his house in Barangay (village) Lalud. Baculo, who worked as a radio blocktimer and publisher of at least three local newspapers in Mindoro, was a media worker of 25 years.
Baculo is the 33rd media worker slain during President Benigno Aquino's administration according to the count of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.)
Even the CMFR's lower number clocks the pace of media killings in the four years of the Aquino administration at a chilling rate: one death every two months. Last year, Reporters Sans Frontieres (Reporters Without Borders) included the Philippines among the five most dangerous countries in the world for journalists, together with the likes of war-torn Syria and Somalia. (The RSF report went to press before the Dec. 11, 2013 killing of radio journalist Tata Butalid from Tagum, Davao del Norte; in other words, dire as it already was, it did not capture the complete picture.)
Baculo's death is the fourth death while Oliverio became the third journalist to be killed this year; the attack happened a mere three days after the Senate committee on public information and mass media held a hearing on the very subject of unsolved media killings. The first attack of the year claimed the life of Ruby Garcia of Bacoor, Cavite last April 6; the second killed Richard Nadjid of Bongao, Tawi-Tawi on May 4. Two killings within less than a month must have given additional impetus to the Senate committee's work; a third death so soon after the hearing should impress upon the Senate itself, and its allies in the Aquino administration, the urgent necessity to act immediately.
In the first place, the Philippine National Police is wasting both resource and goodwill by insisting on its own definition of what constitutes a media killing. By the PNP's count, there were only 11 such work-related cases since June 30, 2010. The police do not seem to understand that a driver or assistant is actually an essential part of the media operation; hence the generally accepted tally of 33 journalists and media workers killed in the Ampatuan, Maguindanao massacre in 2009. The PNP also does not seem to appreciate the nature of work in radio stations, where disk jockeys also serve as news readers or anchors. Besides, the police define a case as solved once jurisdiction has been transferred to government prosecutors. This is wrong on many levels—exactly like the PNP's insistence on its own media killing definition.
Secondly, the Department of Interior and Local Government and the PNP should act immediately on Sen. Grace Poe's sensible suggestion that they set up a hotline for the use of journalists and media workers under threat, to contact national-level officials. The suggestion is based on the reality that in too many cases, policemen or government officials at the local level are suspect, as either perpetrator or mastermind. A journalist receiving a death threat can then immediately use the hotline to inform perhaps the PNP chief or the interior secretary; the assumption that these officials will then put the local police and LGU executives on notice is not a guarantee of protection, but it is at least a step forward.
Thirdly, the (Aquino) administration must put more resources into the hunt for the perpetrators. We ask for this, not because journalists are a special kind of citizen, deserving of greater attention from the government, but because of a simple application of the "broken windows theory." When the killing of a person whose job description entails reaching out to many goes unsolved, the many will see their lives as even more at risk, their chances of getting justice even more rare, their place in the democratic project even more insecure. Indeed, whenever a journalist's blood is spilled, we should ask ourselves about the health of that project itself. How can we realize the full potential of democracy when those who air or print critical information are gunned down in our streets?
Stop the media killings now. #
THE FOLLOWING ARE THE ENDORSERS' Names, Emails and addresses:
Mariano A. Santos
Publisher of PINOY Newsmagazine
5323 Wright Terrace Skokie IL 60077
5657 W. Howard St. Niles,
Joseph G. Lariosa
Journal Globalinks stringer
P.O. Box 30110 Chicago, IL 60630
Publisher of MegaScene
Asian American liaison for IL
Sec. of State Jesse White
Asian Chronicle Comcast
Manuel M. Escalona
PIWC 2013 Chairperson
Ramon G. Lopez
616 West Ridge Rd., Joliet, IL 60431
PHL American Cultural Foundation
Jun de Guia
Chair,Gawad Kalinga Chicago
Gerry Carsonitas Jr.
Jose Rizal Lions Club
Northside College Prep
5311 N. Ashland Ave. Chicago, IL 60640
Maurice G. Mudlong
3055 Blanchard Ln West Chicago, IL 60185
Auring & Nestor Galimba
4016 Williams St. Downers Grove, IL 60515
Rudy & Bing Calso
355 Southfield Dr.Vernon Hills, IL 60061
Oni & Zita Yorro
President, PMAC Auxiliary
Al & Marie Williams
130 S. Canal St. #321 Chicago, IL 60606
Thelma T. Fuentes
Du Page County Democratic
Past pres., PCPA
Dr. Virgilio Jonson
Philippine American Social Service
Evelyn R. Toledo
President, Bicol USA
Knights of Rizal Malaya Chapter
PIWC 2011 Chairman
Jo Abaya Wee Sit
2005 PIWC Overall Chairman
1397 Greco Schaumburg IL 60193
1011 White Pine Lane Western Springs, IL
Fil-Am TV Show Producer
PIWC Bot Chair
Pascual Tayco & Lydia A. Tayco
Pres., Ed Ortiz & Associates
Associate, PINOY Newsmagazine
Publisher, One Philippines
Steps to stop media killings
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The Center for Media Freedom & Responsibility (CMFR) welcomes the Inquirer's calling public attention to the continuing killing of journalists and media workers in the Philippines, this time through its May 26 editorial "Stop the killings."
As your editorial points out, the Philippine National Police's definition of what constitutes a media killing is hardly of any help in stopping further killings. Its insistence that drivers for media organizations and disc jockeys are not journalists and hence are not included in the PNP list is, of course, also self-serving and based on a lack of understanding of how the media perform their essential tasks. Media workers like drivers and other support staff are crucial to the work journalists do, while, like other media practitioners, most disc jockeys also regularly report and comment on the news, hence their inclusion in the CMFR's list of media people killed.
Your editorial correctly notes that the CMFR count of 24 journalists and media workers killed since President Aquino began his term in 2010—or an average of six per year—is lower than the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines' 28. The CMFR researches each case and excludes those it has found to be unrelated to the individual's work as a journalist/media worker. Whether 28 or 24 were killed hardly matters, however. One journalist killed is one journalist too many.
The CMFR does not include in its list four journalists killed between 2011 and 2013 because, after extensive investigation, we established that they were killed because of a business dispute, in the course of a robbery, or because of purely personal matters.
As Sen. Grace Poe has suggested, a hotline for the use of journalists and media workers under threat that would enable them to immediately contact national officials would also help stop the killings. Some local officials including the police have been implicated in several of the killings, including in the Nov. 23, 2009, Ampatuan massacre; investigating and solving the killings will require the action of national officials.
But we would also suggest that a multisectoral quick-response team be organized. In addition to PNP representatives, such a team should include media representatives, and would help secure the evidence that is often compromised when a journalist is killed, as well as immediately gather relevant information surrounding the killing.
Punishing the killers and the masterminds is the long-term means to putting an end to the killings, hence our suggestion that the rules of court, which currently contribute to interminable delays in the hearing of court cases, be reformed. The reforms may not retroactively apply to the Ampatuan massacre trial, but could accelerate the pace of future trials in order to demonstrate that the killing of journalists and anyone else will not go unpunished.
For additional information, the public can access: http://www.cmfr-phil.org/flagship-programs/freedom-watch/.
—MELINDA QUINTOS DE JESUS,
executive director, Center for Media Freedom & Responsibility
Freedom Fund for Filipino Journalists (FFFJ)
The Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility is a founding member of the Freedom Fund for Filipino Journalists (FFFJ). It also serves as its secretariat.
The other members of the FFFJ are:
• Philippine Press Institute (PPI)
• Center for Community Journalism and Development (CCJD)
• Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP)
• Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ)
• Philippine News
The Edgar Damalerio case in Pagadian highlighted the need for a fund aimed at helping victims of violence and the families they leave behind. Damalerio's son was only a five-month old baby when the journalist was killed. While there was a good chance to prosecute the suspect in this case, as he was immediately identified by witnesses, the legal process costs money, and Gemma, Damalerio's widow, did not have the means to take the first steps in filing a case in court.
The Freedom Fund for Filipino Journalists, Inc. which was launched on January 7, 2003 is an attempt to seek support for cases like this as well as to promote public advocacy for the protection of journalists.
The Damalerio killing could have been a landmark case because the police had witnesses who pointed to the killer soon after the murder. The failure of the police to investigate and prosecute seemed too pointed to ignore. Damalerio's killing became a focal point for advocate groups as they exerted pressure on the police for action to protect journalists in general.
Unfortunately, despite dialogue with police officials in Pagadian and at National PNP headquarters in Manila , the suspect remains at large.
But FFFJ's commitment has signaled a new level of advocacy that could turn a new page in press freedom protection. Using CMFR's database on killings, the group has enlarged the forum for discussion of the problem and hopes to promote awareness about the problem within the media community as well as the general public.
Among the objectives of the Fund are to raise funds and receive donations for the protection of journalists under threat; to provide immediate assistance to the families of journalists killed in the line of duty; to act as a support group for journalists in distress by, among other means, forming quick-response teams to investigate and report attacks against journalists; and to follow up the prosecution of cases involving attacks against journalists.
FFFJ's advocacy promotes responsible journalism as a way of protecting journalists. A credible and responsible press creates its own protective support from the community it serves. In the end, a public well served by the press becomes the most active and ardent protector of press freedom.
FFFJ's actions have been varied. On May 19, FFFJ sent a team from CMFR to attend Pobeda's wake in Lucena City to follow up the case. A report on the visit was published in PJR. It has also issued statements condemning the killing of journalists. The Fund also wrote to authorities to petition officials to follow up the cases.
On October 8, 2003 , FFFJ sent a letter to the Ombudsman to protest the payment of full retirement benefits to former Provincial Police Director Pedrito Reyes, despite the fact that a case had been filed against him in the Office of the Military Ombudsman. Reyes is facing a charge of "Infidelity in the Custody of Prisoner, Evasion through Negligence". The case was filed in the Office of the Military Ombudsman on March 3, 2003 by the widow of Damalerio.
Also through the efforts of the FFFJ, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on November 7, 2003 announced that the government was offering a P1 million (approximately US$18,200) reward for the capture of the killers of journalists in the last five years (from 1998 to 2003). Arroyo made the announcement during her speech at the 29th management conference of the KBP in Tagaytay City.
The Malacañang Presidential News Desk on November 8 reported that the President had also ordered PNP Chief Hermogenes Ebdane to be more resolute in the investigation of all unsolved murder cases.
On March 8, 2004 , the Office of the President issued a memorandum addressed to the secretary of the interior and local government and the director-general of the national police to intensify the hunt for the killers of broadcasters and journalists.
In September 2003, FFFJ released Staying Alive, a handbook which provides safety information for journalists which was distributed to journalists during a joint CMFR- KBP workshop on monitoring attacks on press freedom and reporting alerts. The handbook includes instructions on precautionary measures to take when reporting in conflict areas and what one can do in the face of physical attacks and threats. It also emphasizes the importance of ethical reporting.
FFFJ also works in coordination with international groups such as International Freedom of Expression eXchange (IFEX), Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF), Article XIX, and the Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA), providing them information on cases in the Philippines which they follow and take up as cases for special advocacy.
One of Chicagoland's biggest celebrations of Philippine culture is coming to Bolingbrook!
Celebrate Philippine Independence Day at Piyesta Pinoy sa Bolingbrook, Saturday, June 21, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. at the Bolingbrook Village Hall and Town Center, 375 W. Braircliff Ave. Admission is free.
There will be a parade of costumes, a dance competition, activity booths, food, and a cultural tent for hands-on workshops.
Catch Filipino American mainstays from the Navy Pier Piyesta: Chicago Angklung Rondalla Ensemble, PACF Performing Arts, Samasama Project, and Nina Mae Vidal.
Confirmed mainstream acts include Andrew Salgado, winner of the 2013 songwriting Pepsi Southern Original Competition, and concert opener for Toby Keith and the Eli Young Band; the Jessie White Tumbling Team and Ronald McDonald!
Festival headliner is GMA International Kapuso primetime king and premiere leading man Dingdong Dantes, who stars in the upcoming teleserye "Ang Dalawang Mrs. Real" opposite Diamond Star Maricel Soriano. Piyesta sponsors GMA Pinoy TV, GMA Life TV, and GMA NewsTV International offer games and giveaways.
At the cultural tent, try out a gangsa workshop with BIBBAK Illinois, an arts workshop with Healing Hearts for Haiyan and Philippine games with the Filipino American Community Health Initiative of Chicago.
Dance groups are invited to join the first-ever Piyesta Pinoy Dance Competition! To join, please visit piyestapinoy.com, or e-mail email@example.com.
Join the "Split the Pot" raffle: 50% of proceeds benefit the Illinois Philippine Recovery Operations (ILPRO), a fundraiser under the 501(c)3 Philippine American Cultural Foundation. Tickets are $5 each. The other half of proceeds will go to three winners: First place, 25%, second place, 15% and third place, 10%.
Piyesta Pinoy is presented by platinum sponsor Signature Event Designs, the Philippine Consulate General, the Philippine American Cultural Foundation, and Bolingbrook Mayor Roger Claar.
For a complete listing of performers, booths, activities and sponsorship, visit www.piyestapinoy.com.
WASHINGTON, D.C.— Two Chicago area Filipino-Americans, Abbey Eusebio of Lincolnwood and Jan Paul Ferrer of Tinley Park, will be given the opportunity to connect with their Philippine roots by immersing in local communities and conversing with government and industry leaders this year as part of the 2014 Filipino American Youth Leadership Program (FYLPro).They are two of the ten Filipino-American fellows chosen for this year's FYLPro who were selected from nominations from across the United States.
"I am excited with this group of promising individuals," Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. said. "We truly had a difficult time narrowing down the choices, as many of the applicants were impressive and well qualified."
Ambassador Cuisia said the delegates will take part in an immersive program in the Philippines from July 24 to 28 that will afford them the opportunity to meet and dialogue with high-ranking officials and policymakers in the Philippines, leaders of industry, media, cultural experts, traditional and social entrepreneurs as well as innovators in different fields.
A brainchild of Ambassador Cuisia and his wife Victoria, the program builds on the success of the programs held in 2012 and 2013 that was participated in by 20 other promising Filipino-American youth leaders.
Minister and Consul Emilio Fernandez said previous FYLPro delegates continue to embark on different advocacies to help promote further progress in the Philippines and to further engage the multi-faceted Filipino-American community. He said the members of the first two batches have gone to undertake, among other things, political advocacy initiatives, cultural and tourism promotion programs, social entrepreneurship activities, education innovations, Filipino-American heritage projects, voter awareness and education, and have even launched political campaigns of their own.
Among the criteria used to evaluate the applications were scholastic achievements and other accolades, leadership skills, accomplishments, active involvement in school, civic, political, business and other organizations, and responses to a set of essay questions.
Serving as the program's partner in the Philippines is the Ayala Foundation, which provides crucial substantive and logistical assistance.
Abbey is a Constituent Advocate at the Office of US Representative Jan Schakowsky, directly assisting constituents of the 9th Congressional District with issues they have at various federal agencies. She is also a Board Member of non-profit organization Childcare Network of Evanston and an alumna of the Evanston Community Foundation's Leadership Evanston program. She served as Vice Chair of the Illinois Chapter of NaFFAA. Abbey graduated from the University of Missouri in Columbia and also attended DePaul University.
Jan Paul is currently Associate Vice President at Morgan Stanley. He also serves as President of the Tinley Park Frankfort Rotary Club, where he oversees its daily operations and the delivery of its local projects. He is also a member of the Philippine Engineer and Scientist Organization, 10,000 Kwentos at the Field Museum, UP Alumni Association of Greater Chicago, Filipino American Network, and International Society of Filipinos in Finance and Accounting. Jan Paul graduated from Robert Morris University.
Overseas absentee voting registration for 2016 polls starts
SAN FRANCISCO, California — Overseas Absentee Voting Registration for the 2016 Presidential Elections started on May 6 and will go on until Oct. 31, 2015.
All citizens of the Philippines abroad, who are not otherwise disqualified by law, at least eighteen (18) years of age on the day of the elections, and who are registered overseas voters, may vote for President, Vice-President, Senators and Party-List Representatives –under Republic Act No. 9189, otherwise known as "The Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003", as amended by Republic Act No. 10590.
All qualified Filipino citizens not registered as voters under Republic Act No. 8189, otherwise known as "The Voters Registration Act of 1996", (the system of continuing registration) shall file an application for registration, while those who are already registered under the said Act shall file an application for certification.
Requests for transfer of registration records may be filed at the Philippine Consulate General or before the Office for Overseas Voting (OFOV) of the COMELEC during the registration period.
The filing of applications for registration/certification is from May 6, 2014 (Philippine time) to October 31, 2015 (Philippine time).
The 30-day voting period will commence on April 9, 2016 (Philippine time) until 3:00 o'clock in the afternoon of May 9, 2016 (Philippine time) at the Philippine embassy or consulate having jurisdiction over the place where the overseas voter is registered as such (the time for voting to be announced later).
For more details, contact Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco at telephone number 415-433-6666 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. (INQUIRER.net US Bureau)
Gov. Quinn, GOP bet Rauner speak at PIWC, June 7;
Flag-raising, June 12, 9 a.m. at Daley Plaza
By Mariano A. Santos
ILLINOIS Gov. Pat Quinn and Bruce Rauner, the Republican Party gubernatorial candidate in November, will share the podium as guest speakers at the Philippine Independence Week Committee (PIWC) dinner ball celebration of the 114th year anniversary of the proclamation of Philippine Independence, June 7at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Rosemont, Illinois.
Anita Rosa, PIWC 2014 Chairperson said that the community is honored with two distinguished leaders from both political parties showing their interests in reaching out to Filipino Americans in the Chicago area.
No fewer than 600 guests are expected during the event that will include those specially invited by the different beauty queens whose coronations will highlight the night's festivities. Winners of the PIWC student essay tilt will also be awarded, said Jo Wee Sit, the chair of this annual competition.
Ms. Rosa also said that she has done away with the traditional "Rigodon de Honor" and was replaced with a new community dance presentation on June 7. She also said that the motorcade is now replaced by a parade around the picnic ground at Grove #4 at Labagh Woods, corner Cicero and Foster Avenues on Picnic Sunday, June 22.
She reminded the public to attend mass or church service before going to the picnic since mass is no longer part of the activities.
Included in the parade are the different beauty queens, "Sinulog" and "ati-atihan" marches. The picnic is open to the public which can participate in games and contests prepared by the PIWC volunteers.
Other PIWC events include a Bowling Tournament at Classic Bowl in Morton Grove on June 1st, Sunday at 11:30 a.m. Event chair Tony Silvano is scheduled to announce the champion in this tournament.
Flag ceremony at the Daley Plaza, corner Washington and Randolph Streets in the Loop, on Independence Day, June 12, at 9 a.m. Cultural and fashion show at 12 noon. Open to the public.
Seniors' Day will be held at the Northwest (Levy) Senior Center, 2019 W. Lawrence Ave., Chicago, June 13, 1-4 p.m. There will be a mini-health fair and entertainment.
For details and to participate, email Anita Rosa: email@example.com.
Left Photo: Members of the selection committee seated fr. L: P. Emraida Kiram & Jelly Carandang. Standing fr. L 2nd row: Almira Gilles, Lani Chan, Trisha Martin & Michael Canilao. Behind them is Jamie Kelly and Victor Miller. Not in photo is Melissa Potter from Columbia University who joined the selection with Trisha. (Photo courtesy of Victor Miller)
SKOKIE, IL-- The First Kwentuhan Session last March 16 held at the Marae Gallery at the Field Museum showcased artifacts from the northern Philippines, specifically the Cordilleras and the surrounding areas.
The Bibak group, whose members have ties to Benguet, Ifugao, Bontoc, Baguio, Apayao, Kalinga made an informative and entertaining presentation. Each table of facilitators and scribes shared the results of knowledge gained about those artifacts with everyone present which provided for enlightening conversation during the breakout session.
Those present during the Kwentuhan session were Philippine Vice Consul Ricarte Abejuela, Field Museum anthropologist Dr. John Terrell, zoologist Dr. Larry Heaney, Vice President of Institutional Advancement Charles Katzenmeyer, Collections Manager Jamie Kelly and community leaders representing various areas of Northern Philippines. The attendees consisted of several generations of Filipinos and Filipino Americans who expressed their pride in our rich culture and heritage.
A second Kwentuhan session focusing on featured artifacts from Mindanao was held at the Marae Gallery at the Field Museum on Sunday, June 1. Members of the core group discussed artifacts specifically from Cagayan de Oro, Davao, Cotabato, Sulu, Surigao & Zamboanga.
A group consisting of Field Museum personnel, core members, and representative from the featured areas had already selected over 20 artifacts from the museum warehouse to be displayed at this kwentuhan session. Invitations were extended to community leaders from those areas, so that they may share their knowledge, understanding and use of the selected artifacts which consisted of religious items, weapons, jewelries, wearing apparels/textiles, shields, and a variety of household items. Three photographers were on hand and took photos of the selected artifacts, which will be posted on 10000kwentos.org, where the general public can post their comments.