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Blog for murdered Filipino journalists

Campaigning journalists George and Maricel Vigo were recently murdered in Mindanao.

A blogspot has been created to commemorate them, and update people on the abysmal investigation into their murders. For further information please see:


Feel free to post your own comments and tributes and PLEASE PASS THIS INFORMATION ON IF YOU ARE ABLE TO DO SO.

Many thanks.

by Helen Kudrich at 2006-06-28 08:44:29 UTC (ed. Mar 12 2008 ) Bangkok , Thailand | Bookmark | | Report spam→

thanks helen. i will post this on our egroup. working as a journalist is a very tough job here in the philippines. if you work hard and you have journalistic integrity, you will be killed. there have been more than 80 cases of job related murders of journalists here since the restoration of democracy in 1986. making the philippines second in the list of the most dangerous place for a journalist (second to iraq).

by Jes Aznar | 28 Jun 2006 09:06 (ed. Jun 29 2006) | Manila, Philippines | | Report spam→
Dear friends and fellow journalists,

It is with great sadness that I inform you of the murder of two great journalists, George Vigo and his wife Macel. They were gunned down near their home in Kidapawan, North Cotobato, in Mindanao, the Philippines on June 19. Both were very good friends and they will be dearly missed.

The moment I met them back in 2001 I was impressed by the courage and vigor in which they reported local news. In my first trip to Mindanao they helped me uncover the truth behind the formation of right-wing Christian militias that were responsible for so much violence in their province. In subsequent trips back to Mindanao the couple helped me report the plight of refugees and villagers caught in military operations against Muslim rebels. George also connected me with leaders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front back in 2003, which led to a PBS Frontline/World documentary about the rebel movement. In 2004 he helped me produce a BBC documentary about another insurgency in Mindanao, the New People’s Army.

George and Macel were co-founders of a local journalist group, the Federation of Reporters for Empowerment and Equality. Together they published a weekly tabloid that has in the past earned the anger of local politicians.

George and Macel’s no-nonsense approach to their work won them many friends. They were never afraid to speak the truth, even though they were clearly aware of the dangers they faced. I took comfort in the idea that they were perhaps invincible. They were activists as much as they were journalists. Their concern for the people around them led them not just to write stories, but also be deeply involved in the struggle for justice and peace in their war-torn community. George and Macel were true heroes for me.

Over the years we developed a wonderful friendship. Last time I was with them was during their youngest child’s christening, where I had the honor to be his godfather. They left behind 4 children.

Please join us in condemning the politically-motivated killings that have claimed the lives of so many Filipino journalists. At the same time my immediate concern is for their four surviving children.

I hope to create an emergency fund to help their children get through this difficult time. Those who are willing to help with a financial donation can contact me directly via my email account (email@orlandodeguzman.com). I am on my way to Mindanao tomorrow.

Thank you and may the peaceful struggle that George and Macel started continue.

Orlando de Guzman

by Patrick Brown | 03 Jul 2006 16:07 | Kunming, China | | Report spam→
Thanks for posting this, though it’s disappointing that it’s generated so little response here. To get an idea of just how routinely intimidating life can be for journalists in the Philippines it’s also worth taking a look at the website (http://www.nujp.org/) of the country’s journalists union. A lot of people here have experience of working in conflict zones but it’s difficult to imagine the level of pressure when you (and your family) can never leave the threat behind. There’s also an appeal for cash – even if you don’t have much to offer, US dollars and euros go a long way in the Philippines right now.

by Andrew Moore | 04 Jul 2006 11:07 | Hong Kong, Afghanistan | | Report spam→
oh shit stop stop stop last week i was Sinhala journalist shot dead in Colombo
see the news to Gareth Phillips ls member yesterday

by Stephane Lehr | 04 Jul 2006 12:07 | Paris, France | | Report spam→
this just keeps on happening over and over again here in the philippines and nobody’s doing anything about it. even i as a young documentary photographer here in the philippines have a hard time telling the stories that should be told because it will really cost someone’s life in the future.. even with proper caution. thanks for posting this pat and helen!

by Paolo Picones | 04 Jul 2006 14:07 | Manila, Philippines | | Report spam→
this just keeps on happening over and over again here in the philippines and nobody’s doing anything about it. even i as a young documentary photographer here in the philippines have a hard time telling the stories that should be told because it will really cost someone’s life in the future.. even with proper caution. thanks for posting this pat and helen!

by Paolo Picones | 04 Jul 2006 14:07 | Manila, Philippines | | Report spam→
Christ, I had no idea……..disgraceful…and Im also appauled at my own ignornance as well, since I had no idea that The Philippines had devolved into such a cauldron of fear and terror…(i’ve sent the link to my aunt, a former u.s. state dept. official (since retired) who had previously been stationed in Manilla for 4 years….thank you for posting this….am reading the tribute Blog ….nothing, not ever, changes in our world…..

by [former member] | 04 Jul 2006 19:07 (ed. Jul 4 2006) | Toronto (home sweet), Canada | | Report spam→
Dear Helen and Pat, I read your blog when you first posted and I’m sorry
that I could not respond at that time…I dreamt about a radiant
Macel and George at their heavenly Lake Agko.

It is so shocking and sad….such a senseless waste of humanity.
I am so sorry for your personal loss and am so sorry for the Philippines’
and the world’s loss.

Now, their memory must keep them and their work alive.

Please accept my sincere condolences.

by Gayle Hegland | 04 Jul 2006 21:07 | Montana, United States | | Report spam→
Again, I am so sorry. No doubt your hearts are broken.

by Gayle Hegland | 05 Jul 2006 08:07 | Montana, United States | | Report spam→
Meanwhile: Burying two friends on Mindanao

Orlando de Guzman International Herald Tribune

Published: July 20, 2006

COTABATO, the Philippines As a Filipino who grew up on the northern island of Luzon, Mindanao, in the south, has always had a magical allure – the myth of the Promised Land, blessed and cursed and claimed by a volatile mix of Christian cults, Moro rebels and tribal groups.
In spite of its dangers, Mindanao has beckoned me back many times. I preferred to see beyond Mindanao’s faults and focus on the amazing people it produced, many who’ve become good friends.
Last month Mindanao called me back once again. This time it was to bury two journalist friends who were gunned down in broad daylight in Cotabato province.
George and Maricel Vigo were the kind of journalists I always aspired to become but knew I never had the guts.
When I first met them in 2001, they were struggling to publish their weekly tabloid, called the Headliner. They reported fearlessly on police corruption and abuse of power. They were just recovering from an arson attack at their office – Cotabato’s version of a letter to the editor. The fire destroyed everything, but they were determined to start over again.
Back then I was writing about the insidious growth of right-wing militias in Mindanao. They have been around since the early 1970s, when President Ferdinand Marcos used them to fight the growing Muslim insurgency. Then, in the 1980s, they were unleashed to deal with the Communist rebels, the New People’s Army. These vigilantes did not hold back when they slaughtered human rights workers, priests, farmers and journalists.
On June 17, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo announced a new military campaign against the NPA. She instructed her generals to “bring home the bacon” – a choice of words that can have macabre interpretations among vigilante groups.
George and Maricel are not the only journalists and activists to fall this year. They are victims of a growing lawlessness that prevails when you declare open season on an amorphous enemy.
In 2001, I spent a drunken evening at a karaoke bar with one of the militia’s self-confessed backers, Joselito Piñol, in a violent town called Mlang. I recall arriving at the pub with Joselito’s entourage of men bristling with shotguns, automatic weapons and grenades.
The next day, Piñol, the vice mayor of the town, showed me a factory where they manufactured a whole assortment of illegal weapons, including a machine gun with an obscenely long clip. He fired it off, and smiling, said, “This is for the use of the Ilaga,” referring to a local vigilante group that made its reputation in the 1980s chopping up its victims.
I remember interviewing an Ilaga member who coolly related how he cut ears off his Communist prisoners. Bring home the bacon.
The brutality of local politics in Mindanao made the courage of journalists like George and Maricel all the more remarkable. I took comfort in the idea that somehow they were invincible.
They were gunned down on June 19 while driving home on their motorcycle to their five children. Their assailants followed them on two motorcycles, and the killer, riding pillion, fired on them point blank.
Two days after the killings, the police declared they had “70 percent of the case solved.” The couple were Communists, the national chief of the police concluded, and their killer was also a Communist whom the NPA sent to kill them for spying for the military.
The police then had Maricel’s mother sign what they called a “routine affidavit.” She was in fact giving her approval to go ahead with a lawsuit against the NPA. The document was in English, a language she neither reads nor speaks.
Weeks before his death, George told friends that he was being followed by military intelligence. George also told friends that he was on a military blacklist. He had mentioned that his troubles began after he showed local officials a propaganda video mailed to him by NPA.
So far, it seems, the police seem more concerned with smearing the Vigos as Communists than finding the real murderer – who, as other campaigning journalists and activists in Mindanao are painfully aware, is still at large, along with whoever hired him.

Orlando de Guzman is an Indonesia-based radio journalist working for the BBC and Public Radio International.

by Patrick Brown | 21 Jul 2006 01:07 | Bangkok, Thailand | | Report spam→
move up, please. thanks

by Gayle Hegland | 22 Jul 2006 01:07 | Montana, United States | | Report spam→

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Helen Kudrich, Photographer/Designer Helen Kudrich
Bangkok , Thailand
Jes Aznar, Photojournalist Jes Aznar
(shoot, eat, drink, shoot, live)
Manila , Philippines
Patrick Brown, Photographer Patrick Brown
Bangkok , Thailand
Andrew Moore, Andrew Moore
Hong Kong , Afghanistan
Stephane Lehr, Photojournalist Stephane Lehr
Paris , France
Paolo Picones, Manunyut Paolo Picones
Manila , Philippines
Gayle Hegland, Editorial Artist Gayle Hegland
Editorial Artist
Montana , United States


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