Bulan, Sorsogon, December 6, 2009: The Bulan Press Corps (BPC) led today various sectors, including the Local Government Unit, the Philippine National Police (PNP), the religious sector and other civil society groups, in conducting an Indignation Rally and a Candle-lighting Activity to condemn the brutal Maguindanao Massacre and to remember the victims of this gruesome incident, many of whom were innocent civilians and members of the media.
Members of the Bulan Media, headed by BPC President Joey Gois, expressed their sentiments in condemning the massacre which claimed the lives of some thirty media men out of a total of fifty-seven dead. The killings were said to have been perpetrated by some 100 armed men led by Buluan, Maguindanao town Mayor Undal Ampatuan, Jr., who wanted to prevent the filing of the certificate of candidacy of a member of a rival political clan. Members of the Ampatuan Clan have been arrested and are now in police custody. Maguindanao has already been placed under Martial Law by the National Government.
Other speakers included Council of Elders president Arturo Gernale, SPO1 Edgar Calupit of the Bulan Municipal Police Station, PNP-PIO SPO1 Javelona of the 509th Police Mobile Group, Mr. Jerwin Detera of BWBS-FM, and Mr. Embing Asuncion. A representative from the Solis Institute of Criminology also delivered a message of solidarity with the BPC.
For his part, Municipal Information Officer Antonio G. Gilana, speaking in behalf of the Municipal Mayor, also expressed indignation at what happened. He said that what happened is beyond logic and comprehension, that it is unfathomable why just because of greed for power these criminals can unconscientiously resort to such carnage. Even in times of war, combatants are treated with respect in accordance with the Geneva Convention. Mr. Gilana also informed the audience of the commitment of the incumbent administration to adhere to the cause of peace and non-violence, and exhorted everybody to be vigilant to prevent criminal elements from destroying our society, and that the freedom of the press is a basic constitutional right that has to be respected by everybody.
The program started at 5:00 PM with a Motorcade around the Poblacion, followed by the Candle-lighting Ceremony and rally at the Bulan Freedom Park. Groups that attended included the Bulan Press Corps, the Philippine National Police, the Local Government Unit, Solis Institute of Technology students and police interns, USWAG-Bulan, BANWA, BEAT, Kabalikat-Civicom and the Parish Pastoral Council.