An attack on one is an attack on all:Philippine journalism and the closure of ABS-CBN
“Sa pinakamalaking dagok at hamon sa aming kompanya at sa aming hanapbuhay, hinding-hindi namin kayo tatalikuran, kabayan ” – Noli de Castro
Teodoro ‘Ted’ Alcuitas
Editor, Philippine Canadian News.com
Thirty seven years ago today, we wrote this article for The Winnipeg Sun after returning to Canada from a month-long trip to the country of my birth.
After the assassination of Senator Ninoy Aquino on August 21, 1983, I organized and led the anti-Marcos group – ATOM ( August Twenty One Movement) and during those dark days my family and I were subjected to harassment by the Marcos minions in Winnipeg. We were threatened with death and every form of distraction to our lives were deployed. Firemen loudly knocked on our door in the middle of the night as apparently someone phoned that there was a fire in our house. An anonymous letter addressed to me with big, bold R.I.P. was mailed to our parish priest. Callers would leave death threats in our answering machine and one call was answered by my 10-year old daughter. “Where is your dad? We’re going to kill him,” and hang up.
I am 80-years old now but my commitment to press freedom has not waned over the years. For over five-years now, I have published and edited Philippine Canadian News. Com, an online news magazine to link the Filipino diaspora. I strive to give voice to the voiceless in our community – the caregiver, the janitor and custodial staff to nursing aides and nurses and today, the meat cutters at Cargill.
Threats of libel, of bullets, of censorship are par for the course in this profession. Smaller media and bigger media are exposed to this ever present reality. Those in power will always try to undermine the Fourth Estate.
That is why I strongly stand with ABS-CBN and Rappler as they face a ruthless authoritarian who does not hesitate to kill those who oppose him. Many times in this page, I have said that the Philippines is in a ‘de-facto’ martial law. And this recent move by Duterte is no surprise.
Duterte, like Trump of the U.S., Putin of Russia or Xi Jinping of China will not tolerate dissent in order to rule.
A free press is our only hope.