Publication date: 
Monday, November 23, 2009

CJFE is horrified by the murders of more than a dozen journalists in the Philippines on November 23.

In all, at least 36 people were abducted and killed by gunmen in Maguindanao province in the southern Philippines.

Military officials said the dead included Genalyn Tiamzon-Mangudadatu, wife of Ishmael "Toto" Mangudadatu, who was travelling in a convoy to file the nomination of her husband to contest the governorship of Maguindanao province against Datu Andal Ampatuan.

The International News Safety Institute has reported that the convoy was ambushed by about 100 armed men, some reportedly in police uniform, who took everyone to a remote location where the killings took place. According to some reports most were shot, but some were run over by vehicles, and some were beheaded. Many of the dead were women.

Reports of those dead or suspected killed have included these journalists: Ian Toblan, Leah Dalmacio, Gina dela Cruz, Joy Duhay, Andy Teodoro, Mac-Mac Areola, Bart Maravilla of Bombo Radyo Koronadal, Henry Araneta of dzRH Cotabato, Bong Reblando of Manila Bulletin and Neneng Montano of local radio dxCP.

"In my long association with the profession of journalism, this is the worst day of killing that I can remember," said Arnold Amber, CJFE President. "We join the world community of journalists in mourning this terrible and senseless loss of life."

The Philippines is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists. Before this tragedy, six journalists had been killed so far this year. It is suspected that they were killed because of their profession.

CJFE demands that the government conduct an immediate investigation to solve this horrific crime and bring those responsible to justice.