LOS ANGELES -- Filipino-American media groups here have banded together to honor the memory of the 32 journalists killed in the Ampatuan massacre, the worst single attack on the press.
On Nov. 22, members of the media will hold a concert and photo exhibit at the Celebrity Centre International in Los Angeles. The event will feature Original Pilipino Music (OPM) icon Florante, local celebrity musicians and the newly formed Fil-Am Media Band.
The concert, titled ABAKADA: Children Helping Children, will also highlight the youth band Back2Jupiter, who will dedicate their performances to the orphans of the slain journalists.
“ABAKADA is the title of Florante’s popular song promoting the value of education,” said Benny Uy, public relations officer of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP)-US Chapter, producer of the show.
“It’s also a fitting title because this project will help us support the education of the orphans of slain journalists,” Uy added.
The concert date -- Nov. 22 -- which is Nov. 23 in Philippine time zone, marks the sixth year after the attack that claimed the lives of 58 people, 32 of them journalists, in Ampatuan town, Maguindanao province in Southern Philippines.
None of the suspects have been convicted of the crime. International media groups, including the New York-based watchdog Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), have condemned the slow progress of the case and the continued killing of journalists in the Philippines.
Earlier this month, radio broadcaster Jose Bernardo was shot dead by still unidentified assailants in Quezon City. He is the 5th journalist killed in 2015 and the 169th since 1986, according to NUJP.
NUJP-US is producing the event, in partnership with the Filipino American Press Club of California, F7 Photographers, Frontliners, Philippine Press Photographers (PPP)-USA and Pen and Lens Press Club.
The show is sponsored by Estela Cottle of Estela Skin Care Clinic, former journalist Nancy Ramos Esguerra of SANA Care Services and Leelin Bakery and Cafe.