CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, September 10, 2003 (STAR) By Bong Fabe  - Journalists here take to the streets today in a massive indignation rally to voice their outrage on the killings of their media colleagues, the latest of whom were Davao broadcaster Juan "Jun" Pala and Agusan del Sur radioman Rico Ramirez.

The indignation rally, spearheaded by the Cagayan de Oro Press Club, is expected to draw some 200 print and broadcast journalists here and from neighboring provinces and their sympathizers and friends.

"Even competing broadcast media organizations have been one and have put aside their differing principles to show that the Fourth Estate is strong and its freedom of expression must not be curtailed," COPC president Jerry Orcullo told The STAR.

Today’s indignation rally here kicks off a nationwide protest action spearheaded by the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines (NUJP) tomorrow.

The NUJP, an affiliate of the International Federation of Journalists, will hold a prayer vigil at the Malate Church and concerted protest rallies in the cities of Manila, Cagayan de Oro, Baguio, Davao, Lucena, Bacolod and Iloilo.

"We urge other media organizations and individual journalists to join these protest actions," said NUJP vice chairman Inday Espina-Varona in an e-mail message.

The NUJP also calls on all Filipino journalists to unite in the face of escalating violence against media.

"The NUJP calls on all journalists to set aside personal, professional and political differences in working to ensure justice for our fallen colleagues, and to prevent future attacks. There can be no justification for this continuing assault on the Philippine media," it said.

While strongly condemning the murders of journalists, Orcullo said the slain newsmen are serving as a rallying point for the living to be courageous and brave in their exposés of truth.

"Journalists become braver when they are silenced. They can kill one, two or three but there would be more who would cry for justice," he said.

Orcullo also lambasted those out to silence the media.

"What can they get in killing their media critics. (Mediamen) are economically dead people and they are just doing their passion to serve their fellowmen and yet this is what they get," he said.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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