Hurt the press, hurt the people

Nov. 10, 2008

Members of the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines (NUJP) in Central Mindanao, after an extensive consultation among each other, hereby declare “persona non-grata” colonel John Oswald Bucu, commander of the headquarters service battallion of the 6th infantry division, Philippine Army.

We also question the silence of supposed peacemaker, major general Raymundo Ferrer, who had studied conflict resolution and management at the Asian Institute of Management. His subordinate colonel Bucu clearly maltreated Loreto Rosario, reporter of Catholic station dxMS, at the height of the October 31, 2008 conflagration inside Camp Siongco, which destroyed an estimated P10 million worth of allegedly old ammunition.

Why has general Ferrer also been silent on the reported manhandling by a drunken second liuteant Christopher Capuyan, of the 6th infantry battalion of a policemen inside the municipal police station of Kabuntalan, Shariff Kabunsuan last month?


The harassment by Bucu of reporter Rosario, who has worked for a Cotabato City radio station operating for almost 60 years now, was an affront to the Fourth Estate.

Bucu is the same officer who branded the present president of NUJP in Kidapawan City , Malu Cadelia-Manar, as “communist, a member of the New People’s Army,” during a gathering of respectable reporters at the headquarters of the 602nd brigade in Carmen, North Cotabato some three years ago.

Manar, a multi-awarded peace reporter who had undergone trainings on peace journalism in Australia and the United States , is focused only on human rights issues, among other concerns, and is neither communist, nor an NPA.

Bucu does not own his uniform, his issued firearm, his combat boots and even the food he eats in his quarters, the tax payers do. Rosario, the radio reporter he harassed, and members of the NUJP in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao are religious taxpayers.

Bucu and all officials of the 6th ID should not also grant selective coverage access to media outfits covering activities of the 6th ID, which has lately been becoming a concern among members of the Fourth Estate in Mindanao .

Harassing members of the media while performing their works is suppression of the people’s right to information, the right to be informed of the goings-on in their communities.

Hurting the press, thus, is also hurting the people.

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