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IAWRT community radio coordinator abducted in Cebu

Elena “Lina” Tijamo was forcibly taken from her home in Bantayan, Cebu in the Philippines in the evening of June 13.

by Sarah De Leon

Elena, 58, is the program coordinator for sustainable agriculture FARDEC,  non-profit, non-government organization that offers paralegal and educational services to farmers facing land issues. She is also the Community Radio Coordinator of FARDEC in Bantayan Island, Cebu. It has a radio program, Radyo Sugbuanon in partnership with the International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT) Philippines.

Suspected military elements—four armed masked men in civilian clothes accompanied by two women—held back family members while they covered Tijamo’s mouth with tape, tied her hands, and took her away. Elena remains missing after more than four days.

Elena’s sister Violeta Tijamo reported the incident at the police station.

Based on Violeta’s account, around 8:00pm after dinner of 13 June, 2020, all six members of the Tijamo household retired to their rooms to rest, except Elena who remained at the dinner table to work. Violeta went out of her room due to dogs barking and a commotion coming from outside. She saw two women toting pistols inside the house by the kitchen door holding Elena whose hands were tied behind her back and her mouth plastered by masking tape. An armed man was positioned in the front door at the sala, while another three armed men were positioned in the kitchen.

Violeta asked the men in Cebuano, “What are you going to do with my sister when she commited no offense?”

They heard one of the male perpetrators replied, “Her husband committed a major offense” and another was overheard saying “This house does not recognize a government.”

Elena and Violeta’s elderly parents, who were with them in the house that time and who are both deaf, was unaware of the incident when it happened.

FARDEC relayed that from the night Elena was taken, her family members received text messages instructing them not to contact the authorities and Lina would be able to go home later.

The following day, they received calls where they were able to speak to Lina who told them that she will be released if social media posts such as the one by Karapatan Central Visayas and news reports of her abduction such as the one by Rappler would be taken down.

Last May 24, Elena reported to the human rights group that a man claiming to conduct a survey for elderly beneficiaries of COVID-19 assistance visited her home but asked about her personal details instead. She later found out that the barangay had no knowledge of a survey.

The government returned Cebu to the ‘enhanced community quarantine’ protocol, also known as total lockdown, from June 16 and this has hampered the family and FARDEC’s search for Elena.

The incident happened while the much-protested “Anti-Terrorism Bill” in the Philippines is in the process of becoming law. The said bill was transmitted to President Rodrigo Duterte by Philippine Congress on June 9 and the Office of the President said it is undergoing review but Duterte is “inclined” to sign it.

The bill, fast-tracked from May 29 and approved in Congress three sessions later, was condemned by all quarters of Philippine society—media, schools, lawyers, church, business, celebrities, etc. for the broad definition of terrorism that may be used against critics. It also features an Anti-Terrorism Council made up of presidential appointees in the Cabinet who will have powers similar that to a trial court and a judge, such as designating terrorist tags and approving warrantless arrests. The bill also prescribes 14 to 24 days of warrantless arrest and detention that many found to be violative of the Philippine Constitution that allows only up to three days even during martial law when the writ of habeas corpus is suspended.

Habambuhay na kulong sa mga Ampatuan

Hinatulan ng habambuhay na pagkabilanggo ang mga pangunahing akusado sa malagim na Ampatuan masaker noong 2009. Matapos ang sampung taong paglilitis ay makukulong sina Datu Andal Ampatuan, Jr., Datu Anwar Sajid Ampatuan, Datu Anwar Ampatuan, Jr., Zaldy Ampatuan at Anwar Ampatuan, Sr.

Sampung taong naghintay ang mga pamilya at kaanak ng mga biktima ng malagim na masaker noong Nobyembre 23, 2009 para sa makabuluhang sentensiya ni Judge Jocelyn Solis Reyes. Mayroong 58 katao ang pinaslang sa Amapatuan, Maguindanao at 32 sa mga biktima ay mga mamamahayag. Ang malagim na pagpatay na naganap lamang sa isang araw ang naglagay sa Pilipinas bilang pangalawang mapanganib na bansa para sa mga mamamahayag sa buong mundo.

Ang pagbabasa ng hatol ay naganap noong Disyembre 19 ng taong kasalukuyan sa Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City.

Bidyo ni Arrem Alcaraz/Larawan ni Lito Ocampo

IAWRT, charging towards the future

Travelling almost 10,000 kilometers to the other side of the globe, four members of the Philippine chapter of the International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT) attended the organization’s Regional Conference in Entebbe, Uganda from October 2-5, 2018

Themed “IAWRT Looking into the Future,” the global event gathered 50 participants from five continents representing 11 of the 14 IAWRT chapters worldwide.

IAWRT International President Violet Gonda in her opening speech underscored the importance of the conference as a milestone in IAWRT’s events calendar.

“It is here that we will share with the members the work done in the last 10 months of the new leadership. More importantly, it is here that members will get involved in mapping out the road ahead for the association,” Gonda said.

IAWRT is moving quickly into the future, its officers said. At the conference, two new chapters were formally acknowledged, Afghanistan and Iraq-Kurdistan, represented by their respective chapter heads, Najiba Ayubi and Awaz Salim Abdulla.

The conference also created a new Committee for Chapter Development with the objective of strengthening chapter capacities and capabilities.

This brings the number of committees created by the current leadership to 12 in the span of just 10 months, which Gonda noted is the biggest in IAWRT history.

Some of the other committees created are the following: 1) Committee in Relation to the UN Commission on the Status of Women; 2) Scholarship Committee; 3) Gender Mainstreaming Committee; 4) Asian Film Festival Committee; 5) Rural Women and Media Committee; 6) Community Radio Committee; and 7) The Gender Based Online Harassments Committee.

Meanwhile, IAWRT’s 2018 full-length video documentary “Displacement and Resilience: Women Live For A New Day” was launched at the conference that features the stories of five women refugees from Syria, Tibet, Myanmar and the Philippines. Segments of the video were directed by five individual members from the said countries.

“Displacement and Resilience” presented the following:

  1. The stories of Mariam and Haifa, two Syrian women who fled Allepo and are now seeking refuge in two different countries, as told by Eva Anandi Brownstein and Khedija Lemkecher, respectively;
  2. The story of Namgyal from the Tibet Movement for Self Determination, as told by Afrah Shafiq of India;
  3. The story of Lumad indigenous peoples leader Bai Bibiaon, as told by Erika Rae Cruz of the Philippines; and
  4. The stories about the Rohingya Refugee Crises of Myanmar, as told by IAWRT Board member Archana Kapoor together with Chandita Mukherjee.

Mukherjee also served as the executive producer of the entire project who was responsible for combining these five stories into one documentary.

The International Board and the Philippine chapter launched Amplifying the People’s Voices: The Philippine Community Radio Experience and Challenges, a handbook on community radio prepared by IAWRT-Philippines recounting three decades of community radio experience in the country at the conference.

A workshop on community radio was conducted during the conference that showed participants how a community radio narrowcast program is organized and held. It was facilitated by IAWRT-USA’s  Sheila Katzman with the Philippine Chapter delegates.

In addition, the conference approved two new organizational documents: the Code of Conduct and Election Guidelines.

Lastly, the membership also affirmed the International Board’s decision to set-up an International Secretariat office in the Philippines.

IAWRT-Philippines head Jola Diones Mangun welcomed the decision, saying “the Philippine chapter is elated and honored with the decision.”

“We will do our best for IAWRT as it charges towards the future,” Mamangun added.

The Conference ended with the members extending the term and mandate of the International Board until 2020.  # (Report by Walkie Miraña / Slideshow by Lady Ann Salem)

 

IAWRT, CHARGING TOWARDS THE FUTURE

Police denies Kodao’s inquiry on arrested journos

Kodao Productions went to the police station in Meycauayan, Bulacan Monday afternoon to cover and verify the arrest of fellow Altermidya reporters. This is an audio recording of the exchange between Kodao executive director Jola Diones-Mamangun and police officers inside the police station. (Editing by Film Weekly)