>By Pet Melliza
The culture of impunity is still at work under the Aquino administration who vowed to end it by running after Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her minions who were responsible for nurturing a regime of shameless arrogance of power with over 1,000 persons extrajudicially killed and more than 200 others forcibly disappeared from 2001 through June 2010.
Arroyo and her gang act as if they still can get away with their crimes under the present dispensation with fire walls she erected prior to her departure from the Malacañang. One such is the Office of the Ombudsman and, another, majority of the Supreme Court justices who are Arroyo appointees who glaringly shield her and her minions from the probe of the “truth commission” and impeachment with orders and resolutions even law students can readily sense as erroneous, if not stupid.
Another media person was murdered in the Philippines, making it to 142 the number of journalists slain in the Philippines since formal democracy was restored in 1986.
Gerardo Ortega, hard-hitting radio commentator in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, was sifting through second hand clothes store, in local term”ukay-ukay”,January 25 morning after his program when shot by a gunman with a .45 caliber pistol.
Ortega, also a veterinarian, is the second journalist killed under the Aquino administration, next to Miguel Belen of Iriga City, who was shot dead after the elections.
The police immediately arrested the suspect, Marlon Dicamata alias “Marvin Alcaraz” of Taguig City.
Ortega, of Radio Mindanao Network’s (RMN) DzAR, denounced corruption and mining in his broadcast. He is a member of the Global Legal Action on Climate Change (GLACC), an organization that blames mining operations as major contributory factor to ecological imbalance that in turn is related to climate change or global warming.
Militarization in the hinterlands of the Philippines, in many cases, is linked to big business interests, particularly, mining. Government troops are heavily deployed to protect mining operations or areas where one is being planned.
In Panay, the border area of Iloilo and Capiz provinces,Lutod-Lutod and Tapas towns, at least 100,000 hectares, are being eyed for mining of copper and gold. And this area is also militarized.
Incidentally, mining areas are also breeding grounds for the armed opposition; it is where the communist-led New People’s Army (NPA) have established footholds and gather strength.
Several other activists like Ortega who opposed mining have been murdered, harassed or evicted from their homes. Multi-national companies and their local partners are willing and ready to kill to protect their mining interests.
(Data culled from the Daily Tribune/Photo courtesy of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines)